O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors, especially Principal Lawyer, Peter O’Brien, are the “go to” firm for many prominent cases. The media often seek out our lawyers for comment on the matters of the day. Here are some of some of the news that we have involvement 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 interviewed for an article in The Guardian regarding police payouts for police misconduct – December 4, 2020
New South Wales police have paid out more than $100m in relation to legal settlements over the past four years. However, in most cases details of the suits were never made public. This is due to confidentiality clauses that prevent victims speaking about alleged officer misconduct.
Peter O’Brien featured in Daily Telegraph article on police payouts for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment – November 28, 2020
Peter travelled to a remote part of Indonesia with a backpack stuffed with cash. This was in order to convey money that two Indonesian youths were awarded after being falsely imprisoned by Australian Federal Police. The article also covers several other examples of police being sued for exceeding their powers such as unlawful arrest and false imprisonment.
Note that the following article may be behind a paywall. Here is our article on the topic.
Peter O’Brien quoted in Canberra Times article on NSW allowing protests with up to 500 people – October 23, 2020
Peter O’Brien has a quote on the topic of the NSW Government relaxing restrictions on demonstrations after several incidents of police brutality.
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.
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). He is fighting 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.
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 it 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.
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.
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.
Melbourne: arrest in Abbotsford leads to internal investigation by Victoria Police – June 7, 2020
7 News, Melbourne interviews Peter O’Brien as an expert on police brutality following a police officer using his foot to kick and then pin down a struggling man.
Victoria Police is tonight investigating one of its own. An officer has been recorded on camera using his foot to pin down a suspect’s head. https://t.co/5zYfOfohG3 @BlakeJohnson #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/ameOq28nm7
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) June 7, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
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):
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):
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.