Daily News Roundup

February 2, 2021



Some of Australia’s biggest media companies have admitted to breaching a suppression order in publishing details of Cardinal George Pell’s since overturned conviction for child sexual abuse.

Dozens of companies, reporters and editors were charged with contempt and breaching suppression orders over their coverage of the case, which was banned from publication in Australia until February 2019.

A contempt of court trial began in Victoria’s Supreme Court in November last year, two years after charges were first laid.

But the case resolved on Monday after the corporations agreed to plead guilty to breaching a suppression order made by County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd.

Cardinal Pell’s five convictions have since been overturned by the High Court and he has returned to Rome.

Lawyers for the media companies including News Corp, Nine, former Fairfax publications, Mamamia and Radio 2GB entered formal guilty pleas on behalf of their clients.

The breaches were in news stories that appeared in print and online versions of the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald and on the Today Show and Sydney’s 2GB radio.

In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop all other charges, including against all individuals, including The Age editor Alex Lavelle who gave evidence at the trial last week.

“Given the plea and acceptance of responsibility in respect of each publication, and other matters relevant to an assessment of the public interest, the Director [of Public Prosecutions] has determined that it is in the public interest to withdraw the remaining charges,” prosecutor Lisa Di Ferrari told the court on Monday afternoon.

Those charges included sub judice contempt against the corporations and contempt and breach of suppression order charges against the individuals.

The court heard the media companies would pay the cost of the prosecution.

A pre-sentence hearing is expected to take place next week.


Rock singer Marilyn Manson has been dropped by his record label after Westworld TV and film actress Evan Rachel Wood claimed he “horrifically abused me for years”, reports the ABC and Reuters

Wood, 33, who dated Manson, 52, from around 2007 and was briefly engaged to him in 2010, made the accusation in an Instagram post.

“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson. He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years,” she wrote.

“I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission,” Wood added.

Three other women on Monday also posted accusations on Instagram against Manson of emotional and psychological abuse in the last 10 years.

Manson’s record label, Loma Vista Recordings, said in a statement that in light of the “disturbing allegations” by Wood and other women the company would “cease to further promote his current album effective immediately”.

“Due to these concerning developments, we have also decided not to work with Marilyn Manson on any future projects,” the Loma Vista statement added.

Representatives for Manson did not return requests for comment.

The singer-songwriter is known for his gothic-inspired black outfits and heavy make-up.

His hits include The Dope Show and Personal Jesus.

Wood had testified before the US Congress and California Senate about her experience with domestic violence and rape without identifying who was responsible.

Asked about Wood’s testimony in a 2020 interview with British magazine Metal Hammer, Manson’s representatives said in a statement: “Personal testimony is just that, and we think it’s inappropriate to comment on that … There are also numerous articles over multiple years where Evan Rachel Wood speaks very positively about her relationship with Manson.”

Wood started her career as a child actor in such films as Thirteen. Other credits include The Wrestler and the TV series Mildred Pierce.

She said that she was “done living in fear of retaliation, slander and blackmail … I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent”.

The actor’s representatives did not return a request for further comment.

Dozens of men in entertainment, politics, business and sports have been accused of sexual misconduct or emotional abuse since the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017 following multiple allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Weinstein was sentenced in 2020 to 23 years in prison.


US President Joe Biden has threatened to reimpose sanctions on Myanmar’s military leaders and called for a concerted international response to press them to relinquish power they seized in a coup, Newsagencies report.

A statement from Mr Biden on Monday local time condemned the military’s takeover from the civilian-led government on Monday and its detention of elected leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi as “a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law”.

The Myanmar crisis marks a first major test of Mr Biden’s pledge to collaborate more with allies on international challenges, especially on China’s rising influence, in contrast to former President Donald Trump’s more nationalistic approach.

“The international community should come together in one voice to press the Burmese military to immediately relinquish the power they have seized, release the activists and officials they have detained,” Mr Biden said.

The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy.

“The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action.”

Despite Aung San Suu Kyi having widespread support, it’s really the military that calls the shots.

Mr Biden also called on the military in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, to lift all restrictions on telecommunications and to refrain from violence against civilians.

He said the United States was “taking note of those who stand with the people of Burma in this difficult hour”.

“We will work with our partners throughout the region and the world to support the restoration of democracy and the rule of law, as well as to hold accountable those responsible for overturning Burma’s democratic transition,” he said.

Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won a landslide 83 per cent in a November 8 election.

The army said in taking over in the early hours of Monday that it had responded to what it called election fraud.

Warning a ‘message to all countries in the region’

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a regular news briefing the United States had already had “intensive” conversations with allies about Myanmar.

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