from The Australian
A NSW Supreme Court judge has taken the extraordinary step of warning the public not to contact him as he gets set to hear a test case over NSW’s public health orders later this week.
Justice Robert Beech-Jones will oversee a three-day trial in which Health Minister Brad Hazzard will defend the state government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Two plaintiffs, Al-Munir Kassam and Natasha Henry, have filed civil suits challenging various aspects of the public health orders instituted in response to the latest outbreak fuelled by the Delta variant.
Starting this Thursday, Justice Beech-Jones will hear the challenge to the rules which state that essential workers must receive their first vaccination by September 19 if they are to leave an LGA of concern for work purposes.
The lawsuit is challenging rules which prevent unvaccinated workers from leaving their LGAs for their jobs. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper.
And Justice Beech-Jones took the unorthodox step of warning those watching online not to contact him unless they were lawyers for the two parties.
He said that the deluge of emails and phone calls to his chambers had been so great, that those with legitimate business with the court were having trouble getting through.
He emphasised that he would not take any correspondence into consideration.
“Over the last few days, my office has been inundated with emails and telephone calls from people who are interested in the proceedings but are not lawyers or parties,” Justice Beech-Jones said.
“Please understand I will not read any of your emails or take any of your calls.
“People who do so risk interfering with the administration of justice. And anyone who encourages any of this to happen is equally encouraging the interference with the administration of justice.”
The matter will be subject to a three-day hearing starting Thursday, with Justice Beech-Jones on Tuesday morning ruling that evidence in one matter will be evidence in the other.
Ms Henry’s lawyers opposed the move, arguing that it would cause her legal costs to blow out.
The court heard that her matter was only expected to take up one day of the hearing and she would only be calling two expert witnesses, as opposed to Mr Kassan who is calling eight.
However Justice Beech-Jones said given the overlap in the two cases and their contentions, “the prospect of differential evidence in both cases leading to a differential outcome” was unsatisfactory.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday announced that on December 1, unvaccinated persons would have restrictions lifted as part of a staged repealing of lockdown measures.
Barrister Jeremy Kirk, acting for Mr Hazzard, said he did not know if this would include the easing of restrictions which are being challenged in the suit.
Editor: It now seems, in light of the overwhelming medical evidence we have seen that the so-called Delta variant is actually the result of mRNA vaccines.