Craig Thomson had a significant win in court today, but Australia’s Murdochracy has tried to spin it as somehow an admission of guilt. Managing editor David Donovan reports.
CRAIG THOMSON had a significant win today, with his application to have his case heard in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, rather than a superior court, being granted.
The case is set down to be heard in less than a month, on 16 August, giving Thomson the opportunity to clear his name before the election.
The magistrate is reported to have said he did not think the case was complex.
In a statement made after the decision, Craig Thomson said he was pleased with the result.
‘I am very happy that I have won today’s application,’ he said.
‘The reason for the application was to have this matter heard as quickly as possible.’
In keeping with standard practice, most of Australia’s media immediately reported the news as a negative for Thomson — either an effort by him to avoid a longer sentence or as an admission of impropriety, given Thomson’s lawyers argued there would be “little debate” or “dispute” about the facts or the charges. (Some of these stories were, however, later updated to include Thomson’s statement.)
Thomson's office vehemently denied these insinuations. Thomson's lawyer, Greg James, QC,was merely stating that the facts and charges will never need to be contested – it was asserted in no uncertain terms to IA – since they will be thrown out before ever reaching that stage of proceedings.
Thomson's written statement also made this point:
Despite some media reports,I amnot making any admissions. But there is a threshold issue of who had authority to use the credit card, which must be heard first.
This is an efficient use of court time and because of my limited personal resources, also an appropriate approach.
If the Crown cannot prove its case on this issue, all other charges become null and void.
IA understands that if the threshold matter is met, and the the facts and charges do become an issue, Thomson will defend all charges vigorously.
Editor's note (19/7/13, 9pm): The Australian, after complaints from Craig Thomson and his lawyer, removed paragraph six and eight from their initial story. No correction was issued.
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