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Court blocks name of TV personality facing sex charges

A magistrate has ordered that a Seven Network personality accused of child sexual offences cannot be named in public unless she is committed to stand trial.

Oct 30, 2023, updated Oct 30, 2023
The court heard the Seven Network personality attempted to take her own life after being told her alleged victims had contacted A Current Affair and that social media users had posted derogatory comments about her. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

The court heard the Seven Network personality attempted to take her own life after being told her alleged victims had contacted A Current Affair and that social media users had posted derogatory comments about her. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

The woman has been charged with multiple counts of indecent treatment of children aged under 16, rape, sexual assault, torture and assaults.

The woman’s identity was due to be revealed under changes to Queensland’s laws that had banned media outlets from naming people who were charged with sex offences but who had yet to face trial.

However, the woman was granted a non-publication order in Richlands Magistrates Court and on Monday.

Magistrate Aaron Simpson said the woman had a complex medical history and a psychiatrist found she was having trouble sleeping and was hypervigilant and anxious due to fears  vigilantes would try to harm her or reveal her name to the public.

The psychiatrist said the woman attempted to take her own life after being told her alleged victims had contacted A Current Affair and that social media users had posted derogatory comments about her.

The social media comments included statements that she was a pedophile and an “evil maggot” and threats to “shoot you in the head”.

“The available findings indicate (the woman’s) mental state has deteriorated … as such, the risk of intentional self-harm and/or suicide remains high,” the psychiatrist stated.

Simpson said he had to weigh the principle of open justice and public interest against prior TV and social media conduct, including Nine Network’s program A Current Affair sending a camera crew to confront the woman in a supermarket car park.

“Some of the on-camera and social media commentary connected with reporting by A Current Affair has been appalling and dehumanising,” Simpson said.

He said he did not want to be seen to punish all media outlets for the actions of a few but he did find it was likely that the online threats would increase if she was named.

The woman’s decision to publish videos that made vague references to her case were not accepted by Simpson as a reason for media to name her.

“The defendant is not someone trying to hide behind a mental illness; she is a fragile person who is a risk to herself,” Simpson said.

Queensland police, two of the woman’s alleged victims, Nine and Ten networks, and News Corp Australia opposed granting the order.

Barrister for the woman’s alleged victims, Claire Schneider, previously told the court her clients wanted to preserve their right to talk about their experiences via a podcast.

“It’s important they have right to self-identify,” she said.

The woman’s barrister, Andrew O’Brien, declined to comment outside court after Simpson handed down his decision.

Lawyer for the media outlets, Zander Croft, said he would seek instructions from his clients about whether to appeal the decision.

“In a sense you are always disappointed to lose but you have got to abide by the court’s decision that was handed down today,” Croft said.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028
Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

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