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Courting Suspicion: When Justice Isn’t Being Seen To Be Done, Or Seen At All

makeAhistory.comFor the past few months, New Matilda and Marque Lawyers have been quietly reviewing the daily flood of suppression orders issued from various legal jurisdictions around the country. We’re ‘on a list’, you might say, which alerts us every time a court issues a suppression order on a trial. It makes for illuminating (and frequently frustrating) reading. Marque’s Hannah Marshall and Michael Bradley weigh in on an increasing and unfortunate trend in Australia’s justice system.

What is more important – open justice, or the accused’s right to a fair trial? Justice being seen to be done, or justice being done? In some cases, we can’t have both. Increasingly, when a big criminal trial of clear public interest is afoot, this tension is being strained way past what we’d call breaking point.

Suppression orders (court orders preventing the media from reporting on a case) are just one way to protect a fair trial. There are a bunch of reasons why suppressing information in a court case might be a better idea than having open justice. Witness protection, national security and avoiding unnecessary distress to victims are a few examples.

But what about when the trial is

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