2019 The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law / King & Wood Mallesons Annual Lecture
A journalist's defence of trial procedures
Louise Milligan, Journalist for Four Corners
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Louise Milligan’s journalism led to her being a witness in the hearings regarding George Pell, and here offers her views on certain aspects of criminal trials in Australia. She will discuss the phenomena of suppression orders, the routine suppression of information (such as the identity of victims), and judge-only trials. A key insight is that the ordinary tenets of Australian criminal trials, such as the principles of open justice and jury trial, should be departed from extremely rarely, and far less than is currently the case.
Louise Milligan is an investigative reporter with the ABC TV Four Corners program and author of the Walkley Award-winning book, Cardinal, The Rise and Fall of George Pell. Louise is the only journalist to have interviewed the men who made complaints against the Cardinal. The day her book was published, after a two-year police investigation, the Victorian Office Of Public Prosecutions announced it had sent the Pell brief back to Victoria Police and it was free to charge George Pell if it wished. Six weeks later, Pell was charged with multiple historical child sexual offences. He was convicted of five offences in December 2018, recently upheld by the Victorian Court of Appeal. Because of her journalism, Louise became a witness in the criminal case. Louise has been interested in legal journalism since the start of her career. For Cardinal, she was named the Sir Owen Dixon Chambers Law Reporter of the Year. She is a Law/Arts (Politics Honours) graduate and a former High Court Correspondent for The Australian. Her work over the years has won her many awards: a Melbourne Prize for Literature Civic Choice Award, three Walkleys, five Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards, including the Gold Quill – the highest honour in Victorian journalism. Louise was also recently awarded the Press Council’s 2019 Press Freedom Medal.