O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors in the Media, 2021

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 is news that we have been involved with in the Media in 2021. For previous news and media mentions, go to our 2018 page. Or, our 2019-2020 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 .

O’Brien Solicitors to appeal on behalf of client Shane Bazzi in Peter Dutton defamation case

December 20, 2021

Refugee advocate files appeal over Peter Dutton’s $35,000 defamation win. Shane Bazzi, through his lawyers at O’Brien Solicitors, has filed an appeal against a Federal Court decision ordering him to pay Defence Minister Peter Dutton $35,000 in damages over a defamatory tweet.The following may be behind a paywall for some people:

Sydney Morning Herald reports on appeal on Bazzi defamation case

Neighbour mulls adding to William Tyrrell ‘suspects’ suing police

November 22, 2021

Peter O’Brien is quoted extensively in this article in The Australian where a neighbour of William Tyrrell considers suing police. Peter is already representing wrongly accused man Bill Spedding. The following may be behind a paywall:

The Australian quotes Peter O’Brien on Tyrrell case

Senior Solicitor Stewart O’Connell mentioned in Flowers defamation article

November 17, 2021

Terrance Flowers is suing Channel 7 for defamation over the Cleo Smith abduction. The following may be behind a paywall:

Terrance Flowers suing for defamation – Daily Telegraph

Peter O’Brien name-checked in Media Watch over Flowers defamation

November 5, 2021

https://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/episodes/cleo/13621858 – ABC

Man wrongly identified as suspect in Cleo Smith abduction is represented by O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors

November 5, 2021

Terrance Flowers goes by the name Terrance W. B. Kelly on Facebook, using his mother’s last name. This name is close to that of Carnarvon man Terence Darrell Kelly, who has been charged with child abduction. 4 year old Cleo Smith was found alive this week after having been missing for 18 days. Channel 7 incorrectly identified Mr Flowers as the suspect in the case including full face pictures. Consequently he suffered abuse and threats and ended up in hospital with a panic attack. He has engaged our firm to sue for defamation.

Cleo Smith case falsely accused Terrance Flowers to sue for defamation

Police officer in jail after assaulting woman, tampering with evidence

October 27, 2021

Peter O’Brien has a quote in a Canberra Times article about a police officer who assaulted a woman in a Liverpool pub. Subsequently the officer lied about the interaction. The former senior constable, Mark Anthony Follington, is now in prison. O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors will be suing the NSW Police Force on the woman’s behalf.

Liverpool assault by police officer ends with him in prisonCanberra Times

Criminal defence case sees Barker College student escape conviction for Pyrmont assault  – October 6, 2021

Peter O’Brien appeared for a Barker College student who faced a charge of  assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company. Magistrate Sue Duncombe sentenced the 17 year old to 12-months probation in Children’s Court after he pleaded guilty to the crime. However, she recorded no conviction.

Pyrmont assault accused secures no convictionNews.com.au

Defamation case of Dylan Voller prevails in High Court of Australia  – September 8, 2021

Dylan Voller is suing for defamation several media outlets including the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian. Today the High Court of Australia agreed that those media outlets were responsible for libellous comments by commenters on the Facebook pages that the news outlets maintain.

Media outlets lose High Court appeal over Facebook defamation ruling Sydney Morning Herald

High Court finds media outlets are responsible for Facebook comments in Dylan Voller defamation case ABC

High court Voller ruling: Media liable defamation Facebook posts – Herald Sun

High Court decision will help clean up garbage on social media Brisbane Times

Dylan Voller case: Nine, News Corp lose High Court appeal over Facebook comments defamation ruling – The Age

High court rules Australian media companies can be liable for defamatory comments posted on Facebook pages | Australian media – The Guardian

Australian media outlets liable for Facebook comments, court find – Reuters

You can see the statement that we released that the ABC quoted here.

O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors’ takes on NSW Police over assault and false arrest of trans woman – May 28, 2021

Our civil lawyer team is suing NSW Police over an officer who was convicted of several counts relating to the unlawful assault and arrest of a woman in Liverpool.

Liverpool false arrest leads to conviction of police officer and lawsuit against NSW Police  Canberra Times

Sydney woman Anya Bradford sues NSW after being assaulted by police officer  ABC

O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors’ Elliot Rowe defends stabbing accused – May 8, 2021

Criminal defence lawyer Elliot Rowe is defending a man who has pleaded not guilty to one count of reckless wounding on the Northern Beaches.

Collaroy alleged stabbing accused says it was self defence  The Daily Telegraph / Manly Daily (note this article is behind a pay wall)

O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors to vigorously defend defamation suit from Peter Dutton – April 26-27, 2021

Defence Minister Peter Dutton is suing refugee activist Shane Bazzi over a tweet describing him as a “rape apologist”. O’Brien Solicitors civil team will be defending Mr Bazzi against the defamation claim.

Peter Dutton sues refugee activist for defamation over tweetThe Guardian Australia

Peter Dutton sues refugee advocate over ‘rape apologist’ tweet – Sydney Morning Herald

Peter Dutton sues Shane Bazzi over tweetThe Australian

O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors represent Josh Massoud for defamation as he takes five media companies to court – April 27, 2021

Reports wrongly claimed Josh Massoud made ‘threat to kill’, court told

Senior Solicitor Stewart O’Connell, who specialises in defamation, is the solicitor acting for Ms Massoud.

O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors representing Doctor suing Victoria Police for defamation and unlawful arrest – April 16, 2021

A Melbourne doctor claims he was defamed by Victoria Police after he was accused on a local Facebook page of stealing a bottle of rum.

Prasannan Ponganamparambile is taking legal action against the State of Victoria over a social media post published on Victoria Police’s Cardinia Eyewatch Facebook page in May last year.

O’Brien Solicitors statement on the matter was quoted extensively in an article about the matter in The Age. Senior Solicitor Stewart O’Connell, who specialises in defamation, is one of the solicitors acting for the doctor.

“Mr O’Connell said his client was never charged and that Victoria Police’s actions had a devastating impact on Dr Ponganamparambile and his family.

He said police should not post a person’s image on social media connecting them to a crime “without at least a reasonable investigation into the circumstances”.

“People are entitled to the protection of the presumption of innocence and for their privacy to be respected,” he said.”

The matter was also reported on the ABC web site.

O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors has been engaged by someone in respect to Peter Dutton defamation action – April 7, 2021

Defence Minister Peter Dutton has launched an attack on critics on Twitter threatening to sue them for defamation.

O’Brien Solicitors statement on the matter was quoted extensively in an article about the threats in The Guardian.

“We have been engaged in relation to a defamation concerns notice served on an individual as a result of a tweet about Peter Dutton.

“We are not prepared, at this time, to discuss the specific details of the particular case.

“We are, however, firmly of the general view that politicians should not be wielding defamation laws as a sword to cut down the opinions and criticisms of individuals.

“People should have a broad freedom to criticise and express opinions about politicians without fear of reprisal, and politicians should have thick skins.”

O’Brien Solicitors argue defamation should be reserved for cases of “real risk of genuine damage to reputation”.

“That is not the case here. This was an expression of opinion on Twitter, a social media platform known for its freewheeling and informal banter in respect of matters of public interest, to an audience of no more than a few hundred people.”

Peter O’Brien quoted for an article on the ABC regarding payouts for child sexual assault in state custody – March 18, 2021

Peter O’Brien had a quote in an ABC article about sex assault compensation changes in NSW.

Solicitor Peter O’Brien said it was unfair to have one system for children in the community and another for those in custody.

“It was a horrendous piece of drafting to begin with to enable the state to avoid compensation payouts to those who’d been abused whilst in custody — in fact, in the care of the state as children,” he said.

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