O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors in the Media, 2019-2020

O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors, especially Principal Lawyer, Peter O’Brien, are the “go to” firm for many prominent cases. Our lawyers are often sought out by the media for comment on the matters of the day. Here are some of some of the news that we have been involved with in the Media over the period of 2019-2020. For previous news and media mentions, go to our 2018 page.

We are happy to assist with your media enquiries. Contact us for interviews, information or expert opinions on criminal and civil matters on (02) 9261 4281 or by email at .

Peter O’Brien quoted in Canberra Times article on NSW allowing protests with up to 500 people – October 23, 2020

Peter O’Brien is quoted on the topic of the NSW Government relaxing restrictions on demonstrations after several incidents of police brutality.

Canberra Times: NSW allows protests of up to 500 people in COVID-19 Public Health Order

Peter O’Brien secures bail for former Barker College student in Pyrmont grievous bodily harm case – August 4, 2020

Peter O’Brien is representing a former Barker College student  in a grievous bodily harm case being heard in Children’s Court in Sydney. He was able to see the magistrate grant bail for his client whereas the other defendants were denied bail. Note that this article contains a graphic description of a violent crime.

News.com.au: Former Barker College student gets bail in violent assault in Pyrmont

Black Lives Matter advocates fight police in court for protest rights in Newcastle – July 3, 2020

Peter O’Brien is representing Taylah Gray from Fighting In Solidarity Towards Treaties (FISTT) in the latest attempt by the Police to deny a Black Lives Matter / Deaths in Custody protest the right to go ahead, this time in Newcastle.

SBS: An application will be heard in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday morning to prohibit a Black Lives Matter protest planned for Newcastle.

Barristers for Deaths in Custody / Black Lives Matter protest rallies – June 13, 2020

The Wigs are not a truncated version of a children’s music group, but is the name for a popular podcast featuring three of Sydney’s best barristers along with host Jim Minns. They and Peter O’Brien were key operatives in the recent Court of Appeals victory that won the Black Lives Matter / Deaths in Custody protest the right to go ahead.

Sydney Morning Herald: The barristers who make up the Wigs

Deaths in Custody / Black Lives Matter protest rallies behind the scenes – June 12, 2020

The Australian Financial Review has published a behind the scenes look at how Peter O’Brien and the other members of the legal team have been in the fight for the right to assemble in protest over the past week.

Australian Financial Review: Peter O’Brien and barristers and BLM / refugees protests

Deaths in Custody and Black Lives Matter protest demonstration rally backstory – June 9, 2020

Peter O’Brien and his criminal defence team were involved in the backstory to last weekend’s BLM rally. NSW Police gave the green light to the Sydney Black Lives Matter rally in an email sent two days before the event, the state’s top court has ruled, and their steps to reverse that authorisation failed.

Sydney Morning Herald: Court of Appeal rules Sydney Black Lives Matter protest can go ahead

Melbourne: arrest in Abbotsford leads to internal investigation by Victoria Police – June 7, 2020

Peter O’Brien is interviewed as an expert on police brutality by 7 News, Melbourne following a police officer using his foot to kick and then pin down a struggling man.

If the above Twitter link does not work go to the 7 News Melbourne article directly.

Melbourne: arrest in Abbotsford leads to internal investigation by Victoria Police – June 7, 2020

Peter O’Brien is interviewed as an expert on police brutality by 7 News, Melbourne following a police officer using his foot to kick and then pin down a struggling man.

If the above Twitter link does not work go to the 7 News Melbourne article directly.

Sydney Black Lives Matter rally organisers win last-minute appeal to overturn ban – June 6, 2020

Peter O’Brien acts for the BLM organizer Raul Bassi to win a go ahead for the major event.

Northern Territory Don Dale detainees tear gas High Court decision – June 4, 2020

Peter O’Brien acted for Don Dale detainees, is quoted in this article by Barrister and law lecturer, Greg Barns, about the High Court decision about the use of tear gas on them.

Sydney Morning Herald: Don Dale ruling a strong message against use of force on children

Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program (CIDP) radio interview – June 2, 2020

Peter O’Brien spoke to James Valentine on ABC Radio Sydney on Tuesday about the Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program (CIDP) and how it is imperilled by possible lack of funding. This would mean that some of the most vulnerable in society would face dire consequences due to the uncompromising rigidity of the criminal justice system. To listen to the interview, go to this page.

ABC Radio: James Valentine Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program (CIDP) interview

Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program (CIDP) under threat – June 2, 2020

Peter O’Brien’s letter to the Attorney General on the Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program (CIDP) is having an impact. He is quoted in this article from the Sydney Morning Herald today.

Sydney Morning Herald: CIDP under threat

Peter O’Brien present at William Tyrell’s coronial inquest – June 1, 2020

Peter O’Brien is representing local white-goods repairman, Bill Spedding, who is suing NSW police for naming him as a suspect when no evidence connects him to the crime.

The Australian: William Tyrell coronial inquest (Paywall site, so you may need to be a subscriber)

Garbage truck driver cleared over Sydney grandmother’s death – May 7, 2020

Peter O’Brien successfully defended a garbage truck driver who reversed into a legally blind woman on the Northern Beaches. The charge was dangerous driving. See also our media release on the case.

Nine News: Dangerous driving charge not guilty

Social distancing Coronavirus fines application unfair impact criticised by Peter O’Brien – April 27, 2020

The News website include this article sourced from the Australian Associated Press (AAP):

News: NSW Coronavirus fines impacting vulnerable groups

Social distancing COVID-19 fines application criticised by Peter O’Brien – April 23, 2020

The Nine News website include this article sourced from the Australian Associated Press (AAP):

Nine News: NSW COVID-19 fines ‘arbitrarily applied’

Cardinal George Pell opinion piece in the Guardian by Peter O’Brien – April 14, 2020

Peter O’Brien, Principal Solicitor of O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors, was approached by The Guardian to provide an opinion piece regarding the recent High Court decision in the matter of ex-cardinal George Pell. Read it here:

The Guardian: Cardinal George Pell appeal consequences

As COVID-19 social distancing regulations bite, Peter O’Brien is quoted in the Guardian – April 14, 2020

In an article about someone’s funeral being broken up by police (!)  among other possible over-reaches, Peter O’Brien is quoted:

The Guardian: social distancing enforcement by police

60 Minutes Ben Batterham segment – March 15, 2020

Benjamin Batterham was at his home, in Hamilton, an inner city suburb of Newcastle, having drinks with a friend in the early hours of 26 March 2016 when he saw a man in his house, coming out of his baby daughter’s room. The man was holding what would later be found to be his wife’s baby bag. In the chase the then took place, the home invader would end up losing his life. Find out what happened next in a case led by principal solicitor, Peter O’Brien, in the following 60 Minutes video.

Defamation claim of the Yolngu people in the Northern Territory versus Channel 7 and the Sunrise program –

Our principal lawyer Peter O’Brien, and solicitor Stewart O’Connell, were in the news last week. This publicity related to the defamation claim of the Yolgnu people in the Northern Territory versus Channel 7 and content broadcast on their Sunrise program. You can discover more about the media coverage in the following links:

Guardian: Channel Seven settles defamation case with Aboriginal community over Sunrise segment

Sydney Morning Herald: Seven settles with Aboriginal group over ‘Stolen Generation’ Sunrise panel

B And T: Seven’s Sunrise To Issue Public Apology & Payout Over Stolen Generation Segment

4 Corners Bill Spedding episode – Nov 4, 2019

On Monday, ABC Four Corners will reveal how a man was wrongly accused in the William Tyrrell investigation. Bill Spedding, a washing machine repairman, was accused of abducting the three-year-old William Tyrrell, who disappeared in 2014 from the front yard of a family home in Kendall, on NSW’s mid-north coast. Police pursued Spedding, and principal solicitor, Peter O’Brien was able to prove his innocence, as is demonstrated in this Four Corners episode:

South Australia to outlaw use of spit hoods in youth detention centres –  25/09/2019

The South Australian Ombudsman has found South Australia is the only state or territory that still uses spit hoods in youth detention centre. Peter O’Brien features in the ABC PM audio podcast.

 ABC PM – South Australia to outlaw use of spit hoods in youth detention centres

Inquest into William Tyrrell’s disappearance adjourned until 2020 despite gripping statement – 31/08/2019

After five weeks of evidence, dozens of witnesses and two separate courthouses, the inquest into the disappearance of NSW toddler William Tyrrell has come to a standstill.

News.com.au – Inquest into William Tyrrell’s disappearance adjourned until 2020 despite gripping statement

William Tyrrell inquest to grill axed detective over his ‘methods’ – 28/06/2019

Former homicide detective Gary Jubelin will be called as a witness at the inquest into the disappearance of three-year-old William Tyrrell. Counsel for various “persons of interest” are keen to cross-examine him about his methods.

The Australian – William Tyrrell inquest to grill axed detective over his ‘methods’

Dylan Voller wins landmark social media defamation case – 24/06/2019

Former Northern Territory youth detainee Dylan Voller won against three media organisations for defamation over a series of claims made about him in the comments section of Facebook posts. Read our media release here.

Sydney Morning Herald – Media companies liable for Facebook comments made by others, court finds
SBS – Court rules in favour of Voller defamation case brought against media outlets
ABC – AM Radio – Traditional media reacts angrily to landmark defamation ruling

Channel Seven fails to stop Aboriginal group’s Sunrise defamation lawsuit – 13/06/2019

Residents from a remote Aboriginal community launched a defamation lawsuit against Seven West Media over a controversial breakfast show segment. Channel Seven tried and failed to strike out the lawsuit at a Federal Court hearing in Sydney. Our law firm is representing 15 plaintiffs, including 6 children, from Yirrkala community. Read our media release here.

SBS – Channel Seven fails to stop Aboriginal group’s Sunrise defamation lawsuit

Dorendahl Inquest – 26/04/2019

Mother Michelle Dorendahl was pregnant with her second child when her young daughter Eeva lost her life in tragic circumstances that were considered by a coronial inquest. Principal lawyer Peter O’Brien represented Ms Dorendahl at the inquest and always suspected the daughter’s late father Mr Hutchings caused the deaths. Read the full coverage of the Dorendahl inquest below.

Weekend Australian – Mother’s futile search for answers over Eeva’s death in a system fatally flawed

Yirrkala people sue Channel Seven over Sunrise segment –  05/04/2019

Residents of Yirrkala Aboriginal community have sued Channel Seven for defamation after a controversial Sunrise segment. The program illustrated a story about abuse on Aboriginal children while showing alleged footage of Yirrkala residents. Despite a blurring filter used by the program, adults and children were still able to be seen and identified. Our law firm is representing the residents of the Yirrkala community. Read our media release here.

ABC News – Yirrkala residents launch defamation action against Channel Seven’s Sunrise
News.com.au – Residents of small Indigenous community launch defamation action against Sunrise
The Australian – Blurred footage on Sunrise ‘made Aborigines targets of ridicule’
B&T – Channel Seven sued over controversial and ‘disturbing’ segment of Sunrise

Children not returned by parents in custody disputes to be treated as missing, coroner says – 27/03/2019

A coronial inquest into the deaths of Greg Hutchings, and his 4-year-old daughter, Eeva Dorendahl, has recommended police treat children as missing persons if they are not returned by parents involved in custody disputes. Peter O’Brien represented Eeva’s mother, Ms Michelle Dorendahl, at the inquest and said Mr Hutchings had always been suspected of causing the deaths.

ABC News – Children not returned by parents in custody disputes to be treated as missing, coroner says

Former Seven reporter Josh Massoud launches defamation action – 07/03/2019

Sports journalist Josh Massoud has taken legal action against more than half a dozen media outlets over the coverage of his departure from the Seven Network.  Stewart O’Connell is representing Massoud, who said there was a significant difference between what the parties involved agreed occurred and what certain sections of the media actually reported.

Sydney Morning Herald – Former Seven reporter Josh Massoud launches defamation action

Fee structure works as an incentive to delay a case – 13/02/2019

Private lawyers who are funded by Legal Aid NSW were unfairly criticised last week after research from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) was released. Peter O’Brien said a lot of private lawyers do very high-quality work for legal aid clients at what is a fraction of commercial rates.

Sydney Morning Herald- Fee structure works as an incentive to delay a case