The ACMA can investigate 2Day FM prank call

Staff Writer

In Federal Court this morning, Justice Richard Edmonds has ruled in favour of the ACMA. This now means the media watchdog can conclude its investigation into 2Day FM and its handling of the royal prank call.

Edmonds dismissed the arguments by 2Day FM that any findings by the ACMA in its preliminary report had the potential to do “enormous damage” to the station and prejudice any future criminal proceedings.

Back in September, Bruce McClintock, SC, who is representing SCA, said:

"This case, the prank call to the hospital in London, is a matter of notoriety" and added that if the ACMA was allowed to find 2Day FM committed a criminal offence, it would attract widespread publicity.

"The courts are the place and the only place where determinations of criminal guilt can be made," McClintock said.

"The ACMA must wait until my client is dealt with – if it ever is dealt with – in the courts system."

Given that charges may never be laid, it would be "very puzzling" to think the ACMA could make its own criminal finding, Mr McClintock added.

Neil Williams SC, the lawyer for the ACMA, told the court:

“There is no basis for saying this is the final report and that it will remain unchanged.

"This case is far from where the ACMA is solely determining guilt.

“We are simply at the finding stage and there is no case that we are fulfilling a judicial function.”

Speaking after today's ruling, ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said:

"The ACMA welcomes this decision."

"It provides clarity over the operation of the licence condition that prohibits broadcasters from using their broadcasting service in the commission of an offence. The Federal Court confirmed that the ACMA has the power to form an opinion as to whether a broadcaster has breached the licence condition, independently of any conviction for a criminal offence."

The ACMA's preliminary report is said to be released in the coming days. It could potentially lead to the suspension or cancellation of 2Day FM’s licence, if they are found to have broken the law.

This is SCA's statement :-


Related article : 2Day lawyers in Federal Court over prank call


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