Freya Newman’s Sentencing For Leaking Frances Abbott’s Scholarship Delayed

Freya Newman, the student who leaked information about Frances Abbott‘s clandestine $60,000 scholarship at the Whitehouse Institute of Design, will have to wait another month to learn her fate, after a Magistrate delayed sentencing again following Barristers submissions.

Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan at the Downing Centre Local Court announced at approximately 1pm today that she required more time to consider the case and adjourned court, with Newman’s sentence to now be handed down on November 25th.
Newman had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of illegally accessing the data – crimes covered by Section 308(H) of the NSW Crimes Act.
Barristers for Newman’s defence stated that the act would not have been a crime if she had had her own login to the school’s system, and that she was motivated by a sense of injustice. Newman has since written a letter of apology to Frances Abbott. Barristers asserted that, due to the case’s media attention, she would be feeling the consequences of this ordeal for the rest of her life.
Newman’s barrister also stated that even he didn’t know this was an offence prior to the charge being handed down. They pushed for the Magistrate to record a section 10 bond against Newman, meaning she is found guilty, but doesn’t get a conviction recorded. 
Newman, a communications student at the University of Technology, Sydney, was working as a part-time librarian at the private Whitehouse Institute when she utilised internal networks to gain access to the information, which she then passed on to journalists at New Matlida.
The information she uncovered revealed that Frances Abbott, Prime Minister Tony Abbott‘s daughter, had been the recipient of a $60,000 “Chairman’s” or “Managing Director’s” (depending on which Whitehouse official you talk to) undergraduate scholarship, despite the institution to this day remaining steadfast that scholarships are not available for the undergraduate Bachelor of Design course that Ms Abbott undertook. For her time at the institute – of which HECS and fee assistance were not available to students at the time – Ms Abbott paid a total of $7,546 for a degree that costs other students $68,182.
The scholarship was awarded by high-ranking officials at the school who have direct (and financial) ties to Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party, and was not disclosed to other staff and students, and was not recorded on Tony Abbott’s Parliamentary Register of Interest.
Prominent human rights lawyer Julian Burnside had called for Newman to be labelled a whistleblower rather than a criminal and afforded the appropriate protection – however whistleblowing laws in the country only apply to Government institutions, and not private organisations.
Newman’s case has previously attracted support from a wide variety of sources, including outspoken actor (and full-on legend) Caitlin Stasey, who posted an impassioned argument on Twitter.

As of the time of writing, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Frances Abbott, nor any representatives for them have directly responded to the allegations surrounding the allegedly dubious scholarship.

Photo: Graham Denholm via Getty Images.