EXCLUSIVE: Maverick anti-judicial corruption campaigner and investigative journalist, Shane Dowling, is apparently being summoned to the Big House once again by authorities seemingly hell-bent on siding with billionaire media barons like Channel 7’s Kerry Stokes in an attempt to ironically stifle public service journalism and a free media. Serkan Ozturk reports.
The third time may not be a charm but simply a repetitive chore for maverick journalist, Shane Dowling, who is facing yet another stint behind bars over his brand of no-holds barred investigative journalism.
But this time, the publisher of the popular Kangaroo Court of Australia website claims he wasn’t even responsible for the words that have seen him sentenced, while in absentia no less, to almost one year behind bars.
The journalist, who lives on Queensland’s Gold Coast, was not present on Friday, September 3 for the NSW Supreme Court case in Sydney where Justice Kelly Rees sentenced him to 10 months imprisonment for contempt of court.
“This makes me a fugitive in my own country,” Dowling said after the ruling.
“The NSW Police could not take a police statement off Christian Porter’s alleged rape victim for over six months because of the Covid border lockdowns in South Australia so how are they going to extradite me given the current Queensland border lockdown?”
The matter relates to court action brought against Dowling by Channel 7 honcho and billionaire media baron, Kerry Stokes, over claims in 2017 that up to two websites “published Seven’s secret information”.
It has been alleged Dowling was the owner of both websites, claims which he denies.
The journalist and publisher says he is being targeted by Stokes over his journalism because he has long been a thorn in the side of the powerful billionaire with his investigations into alleged sexual harassment at Channel 7 as well as the wealthy media proprietor’s involvement with Capilano Honey, which has been alleged to be selling poorer and cheaper quality honey than what has been advertised.
“If I am arrested, I intend on fighting the extradition to NSW on numerous legal grounds,” Dowling said.
“I have not read the full judgment, but from what I have read it is as dodgy as it gets.
“Justice Rees claims that I owned two websites in 2017, which I deny, and published Seven’s secret information.
“Seven’s own expert witness said he could not say beyond a reasonable doubt that I owned the first website and there was no evidence tendered that I owned the second.”
True Crime News Weekly contacted Kerry Stokes, his son Ryan Stokes, Seven CEO James Warburton, as well as prominent Channel 7 lawyer, Bruce McWilliam, seeking comment for this story this week.
We asked for a response to Mr Dowling’s claims that Seven has been involved in a vendetta against him over his public interest investigative journalism which has, on occasion, embarrassed both Stokes and the media company.
“Seven does not think in a criminal matter – to which we’re not parties – that it’s appropriate to make any public comment,” McWilliam said on behalf of the company when approached.
But the court’s judgement however clearly states on its first page that the “Seven Network” is the party involved which has brought the case against Dowling and on the third page of the judgement both “Seven Network (Operations)” and “Seven West Media Ltd” are listed as parties involved in the case.
Stokes meanwhile has in the past two weeks indicated he will stand down as chairman of the Seven Group by the end of this year. The announcement in late August came after the media baron has become embroiled in controversy after it emerged he was funding the legal defence of alleged war criminal and domestic abuser, Ben Roberts-Smith, with company funds.
In her judgement, Justice Rees claimed Dowling was neither a journalist or publisher, which if true would then suggest Stokes himself is perhaps nothing more than a propagandist for alleged war criminals and the corporate status quo.
Dowling was the first journalist earlier this year, in March, to publicly identify former Attorney-General Christian Porter as being the politician involved in a horrific incident of alleged rape against a 16-year-old schoolgirl in 1988 which allegedly ultimately led the victim to taking their own life in 2020.
Apparently, even that bit of good work in the public interest wasn’t deemed by the good judge as having any journalistic merit.
“Continuing acts of criminal contempt are not a legitimate part of the honourable profession of journalism,” Justice Rees claimed in her judgement against Dowling.
“It would also appear that Mr Dowling’s motivation includes generating interest in his website as a platform for his opinions in general, and the expression of the not inconsiderable antipathy he seems to bear towards a large range of individuals and professions, including Mr Kerry Stokes, in particular.”
It’s the fourth time Dowling has been found guilty of contempt, with the first occasion in 2014 resulting in a $2,000 fine.
On the next occasion, in late 2017, Dowling was then sent to prison for the first time for defying court orders not to publish the names of two well-known female Network Seven employees who are alleged to have had sexual affairs with the media company’s then-CEO, Tim Worner.
He was then again sentenced to prison for contempt in August 2018 over his long-running public campaign to name and shame alleged “paedophile judges” and other members of the judiciary who he claims are corrupt.
That time, a witness who was present for the case told True Crime News Weekly that Dowling “was ridiculed by the judge, as a loser reduced to living in a boarding house. A loser who, due to his intransigence in defying suppression orders of the court, had rendered himself unemployed. She alluded to him as an unstable mental retard, deserving of no mercy by the court, but one to be made an example of for his defiance”.
Dowling – who has been living in Queensland since late 2019 after his home was shockingly raided by members of NSW Police’s controversial Fixated Persons Unit which has recently and inexplicably gone after the team of political comedian FriendlyJordies – says he tried to have the most recent matter moved to the sunshine state a couple of times to have “natural justice in person” but the court refused.
Dowling claims the refusal by the courts to transfer the matter was payback for his public campaign over the past decade to out allegedly crooked members of the judiciary and “paedophile judges”.
“They transferred the Capilano Honey v Simon Mulvany defamation matter from Sydney to Melbourne in 2017 so they could have transferred this matter to Queensland,” Dowling said.
In the event of any arrest being made by police against him, Dowling has called on his supporters to contact the Attorneys-General of both NSW and Queensland and other politicians as well as bodies such as the MEAA media union to help lobby for his release.
“I was never going to get a fair trial in NSW,” Dowling says in a video released on YouTube this week.
“When they’ve got the judges in their hip pocket down in NSW, they’re obviously keen to keep it there – Kerry Stokes and Channel 7, that is.
“I run a judicial corruption website. I’ve named 10,15, 20 judges in the NSW Supreme Court, accusing them of corruption.
“I was run out of the state because the court itself made a couple complaints to the police – frivolous and vexatious – so I had to move out of NSW.”
With Corrective Services NSW preparing to rapidly release up to 1,000 prisoners from the state’s overcrowded prison system due to a worsening outbreak of Covid that first began at the notorious Parklea Prison, it must be said True Crime News Weekly finds it a little odd and baffling that a judge sitting on the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney has seemingly seen fit to sentence a person to almost a year in prison at this very point in time for what is a non-violent crime related to a forgotten media spat from almost five years ago.
True Crime News Weekly believes in the importance and principles of a free press.
A major media company such as Seven, however, being involved in the jailing of a journalist for almost 12 months over information that they may or may not have published is deeply shameful and an episode which once again highlights how Australia’s legal system can be abused by the wealthy and powerful for their own ends and means.
George Pell is a free man, after all, only thanks to the High Court.