BREAKING NEWS: Editor of Ryde’s The Weekly Times has been cleared after a reckless three and a half year campaign by ICAC and a compliant DPP was finally dealt with in a real court without Rafferty’s Rules.
The Northern District Times published a report on last week’s decision by Magistrate Megan Greenwood at Downing Centre Local Court to clear John Booth, editor of its competitor, The Weekly Times (of Ryde).
In its report, the Northern District Times made reference to the “Downing St” court, perhaps explaining why it has taken more than a week to report the verdict.
But the Northern District Times editor Colin Kerr produced an otherwise factual and balanced report, after three years of scrutiny-free coverage of ICAC’s reckless claims and has even offered an occasional soap box for their protagonist.
Mr Booth said after the hearing that he always claimed his innocence and this was reaffirmed by the not guilty verdict.
“Finally I have had the opportunity to clear my name in a genuine court of law and found to be innocent and not guilty and the charge dismissed,” Mr Booth told The Northern District Times.
“Thank you to the many who have supported me and never wavered in their belief in my integrity and now have generously offered their congratulations.
“It is just disappointing that so many innocent and honourable citizens can be so maligned and discredited by the likes of ICAC which is supposed to represent the welfare of the community.”
Star Chamber Wars has known the result of the court case since the decision came down on April 11, but held off publishing the news to allow Mr Booth to first publish his reaction to the result in his paper.
Mr Booth had been accused of lying to the ICAC about one of his advertisers, Barry O’Grady, who had passed away before the Ryde public inquiry commenced.
ICAC suggested during the inquiry that Barry O’Grady was something of a phantom or fictitious character, but it would have known through interviews it conducted privately, that he was real and had previously advertised in the The Weekly Times.
Despite this, the ICAC and DPP persisted with a prosecution against Mr Booth, which has proved to be little more than an abuse of process.
Lobbyist and Ryde councillor, Bill Pickering, who has in the past protested about the lack of coverage about him in The Weekly Times, has loudly and openly declared his role in providing ICAC with information for its Ryde inquiry.
At the time of the Ryde inquiry, lazy and compromised reporting completely missed the fact that ICAC was being led in evidence by a lobbyist, after ICAC under the leadership of Justice Ipp, had in 2010 initiated a costly inquiry into the risks posed by lobbyists.