A Sydney magistrate called NSW Police’s application to suppress Friendlyjordies’ YouTube videos “inane” in blistering comments to the police prosecutor.
In an application to the court, NSW Police requested orders forcing YouTube comedian Jordan Shanks, aka Friendlyjordies, to remove all his videos relating to the allegations against his producer.
The producer in question, Kristo Langker, is accused of stalking former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro. He was arrested at his home in Dulwich Hill in June by NSW Police’s Fixated Persons Investigation Unit (a unit set up to deal with counter-terrorism), and has plead not guilty.
Shanks has been publishing videos on his YouTube channel about the case, which NSW Police argues is in contempt of court.
Police Prosecutor Amin Assaad said Shanks is “a gift that keeps on giving” after his most recent video, which included details about the police application.
“As of 9am it had 248,000 views,” Sergeant Assaad told the Downing Centre Local Court regarding one of Shank’s videos, per the ABC.
“He is interfering in the administration of justice … he’s in a position to influence witnesses.”
Sergeant Assad suggested the videos were inaccurate and in contempt of court.
Barrister Philip Strickland SC, representing Jordan Shanks, said that the application was “fundamentally defective” because it referred to Shank’s videos broadly, and argued that Shanks’ criticism wasn’t any different to criticisms by others in the public sphere.
“This is an attempt under the guise of the Act to shut down criticism expressed in terms, no doubt, that are regarded as unfavourable, but it’s to shut down criticism,” Strickland said, before comparing the application to an “abuse of process” and calling for its dismissal.
Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge said that worse things are said about the judiciary every day, and that she had “never seen an application like this before in this court”.
Sergeant Assaad reminded the magistrate of Shank’s following, and insisted that his videos criticised the strength of the prosecution.
“Isn’t this giving all of that oxygen?” the magistrate replied.
When Sergeant Assaad argued Shanks was “leading the charge” and could influence witnesses, the magistrate replied: “That’s a charge? God, it’s not even a walk through the park. It’s inane.”
Magistrate Milledge adjourned the application until next week, saying police needed to be more specific in what they claim to be contempt, rather than just relying on “a dump of everything that’s been said on a video”.