Yahoo7 has been convicted and fined $300,000 after Sydney-based reporter Krystal Johnson published a story that led to a Melbourne murder trial being aborted.
Krystal Johnson has been ordered to undertake a two-year good behaviour bond
According to an AAP report published in The Australian, Victorian Supreme Court Justice John Dixon slammed the digital publisher which is jointly owned by Yahoo and Seven West Media for a “serious lack of proper oversight”.
Judge Dixon had earlier found Johnson and Yahoo7 guilty of contempt of court for publishing details about a defendant that could prejudice a jury with the fine intended to be a “real and financial imposition” to make it clear to Yahoo7 and other media companies that contempt of court was “intolerable”.
Yahoo7 has been ordered to pay the Director of Public Prosecutions’ costs while Johnson, who was not in court, was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.
Justice Dixon found Johnson felt genuine remorse and that Yahoo7 bore primary responsibility for the contempt as it failed to ensure its processes for reporting on court cases were sufficient to stop prejudicial material being published.
He said Yahoo7 was preoccupied with commercial pressures.
“Incentives in the form of larger audiences and substantial profits were at the forefront of Yahoo7’s considerations,” Judge Dixon said.
A Yahoo7 spokesperson said: “Yahoo7 would like to unreservedly apologise again for any distress caused to the victim’s family and friends.
“We would also like to again apologise for any inconvenience caused to the court and police. Yahoo7 respects the decision of the court today and has taken steps to enhance the editorial processes that it has in place.”