Thursday, August 1, 2013

The quality of mercy

Big Ted Baillieu is almost gone, although still attempting to make sure his legacy (this space left intentionally blank until an actual achievement comes to mind __________ ) lives on. One initiative that certainly doesn't qualify is his appointment of Peter Lauritsen to the position of Victoria's Chief Magistrate, a promotion that baffled as many Liberals as it disgusted. Lauritsen was a law partner of former Premier John Cain and is a well-known Labor man. Apparently Big Ted, unlike Jeff Kennett who reportedly blocked an earlier elevation, must have believed no conservative beaks were fit to assume that high honor.

Labor-related matters have once again figured on Lauritsen's docket, much to the delight of three Age journalists, who got off very, very easy after pleading guilty to hacking into the ALP's voter database and having a good poke around in other people's business.
Ben Schneiders, Royce Millar and Nick McKenzie are each charged with unauthorised access to restricted data held in the ALP’s electoral database during the 2010 Victorian election campaign.

Chief magistrate Peter Lauritsen today agreed to put the trio into the Melbourne Magistrates Court criminal diversion program after they admitted their guilt, agreed to pay $500 each to charity and be of good behaviour for one year.
What a pity. No juicy court case with evidence about the chicanery that saw the trio given the snoopy password. No scandal for the Labor-friendly Age. Nothing on the record that might serve as a counterweight to the habitual Fairfax assertion that it is Rupert Murdoch's minions, and only Rupert Murdoch's minions, who violate other people's privacy.

If only it had been Andrew Bolt who was caught fossicking in places where he had no right to be, we might have enjoyed some very spirited hearings, not to mention editorials and appearances before the recent media inquiry.

UPDATE: Actually, we have learned something from this case: You cannot trust  an Age editor:
"A person with authorised access came to us with concerns about the information being held and we sought to verify that and publish in the public interest," [then-editor Paul Ramadge] said. "I would reiterate that to Victoria Police or the electoral commission." He added the reporting of the matter by News Limited newspapers had "served News Limited's interests".
Now, or so one gathers, The Age regards "the public interest" as best served by pleading guilty.

1 comment:

  1. Bunyip, nothing whatever to do with the fact that Lauritsen was the beak on the case. They pleaded guilty, which means there is no trial or juicy evidence, just a statement of facts agreed between the parties, in this case the defendants and either the DPP or the Police (I know not which). And your narrative of Lauritsen being a Labor stooge hardly fits the gentle penalty imposed for hacking Labor's database.
    Not a criticism, Bunyip - please keep up the good work. It's so good to see you generally back at your acerbic best.