Friendlyjordies video removals would be ‘attempt to shut down criticism’, court told

The prosecutor said police were “not interested in the politics” and Mr Shanks was free to have videos on his channel about whatever he likes, as long as they are not specifically related to Mr Langker’s criminal proceedings.

Mr Shanks is separately being sued by Mr Barilaro in a defamation case.

Sergeant Assaad handed a transcript of the latest Friendlyjordies video to Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge, who said Mr Shanks “clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about with regard to a lot of matters he’s raising, but he’s entitled to his opinion”.

Magistrate Milledge described parts of the video as “absolute gibberish” and “offensive”, but suggested it was merely in bad taste – not in contempt.

“There’s nothing in there that causes me concern from a contempt of court point of view,” she said. “Worse things are said about judicial officers every day in court proceedings.”

Magistrate Milledge said those involved in the justice system must be more resilient than a regular person, and a bruising such as the one police received in the video “should be water off a duck’s back”.

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“If it’s not, sue him,” she said.

Mr Assaad described Mr Shanks as “leading the charge” before the case had a chance to get to a hearing, to which Ms Milledge responded: “Charge? God, it’s not even a walk through the park. It’s inane.”

Mr Shanks’ barrister Philip Strickland, SC, said the attempt by police to remove the videos and suppress his client from commenting on Mr Langker’s case was “fundamentally defective”.

Mr Strickland said one of the videos targeted by police focuses on Mr Langker’s arrest by the Fixated Persons Unit – an arrest criticised by various high-profile people including politicians.

“It’s the police … wanting to shut down criticism of the police,” Mr Strickland said. “It’s tantamount to an abuse of process, in my submission.”

The magistrate said the police application was “clearly defective” in its current form and gave police a week to amend it and file it again. She ordered police to pay Mr Langker and Mr Shanks’ costs for Wednesday’s hearing.

The matter will return to court next week.

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