Mr Gregory Barns SC is an Australian barrister, author, political commentator, company director and former political candidate based in Hobart, Tasmania. He practices law in the area of human rights and criminal defence in both Melbourne and Hobart and took silk in Tasmania in May 2020.
Greg is the author of three books on Australian politics and writes regularly for the Hobart Mercury, the South China Morning Post and The Drum.
There is no doubt that where once there was circumspection shown by the media in reporting on alleged criminal conduct and those who are accused of it, over the past two decades the media has become emboldened in pursuing causes and individuals. The recent examples of Cardinal George Pell and former Attorney-General Christian Porter are cases in point. But there are many other cases where the portrayal by media of events and individuals is problematic when it comes to the ability of jurors to bring impartial minds to certain cases. The rise of social media and the Internet exacerbates this potential for influence on jurors. This Paper explores these issues and proposes some reforms to ensure that the concept of a fair trial is not undermined.