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Friendlyjordies YouTube channel and Jordan Shanks: Contempt of court allegations – Court Procedure



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Jordan Shanks, more commonly known as ‘
Friendlyjordies
‘, and whistle-blower Troy Stolz are
currently facing criminal contempt proceedings, initiated by
ClubsNSW.

Initially, ClubsNSW and Stolz, who was a former employer, were
embroiled in an ongoing legal battle over his alleged unlawful use
of confidential information.

This included his decision to work with journalists to publish
details about clubs’ alleged non-compliance with
anti-money laundering laws
.

ClubsNSW’s statement of claim relies on a series of email
exchanges Stolz had with journalists at the Sydney Morning Herald,
Australian Financial Review, 60 Minutes, Australian Broadcasting
Corporation, and Daily Telegraph in 2020.

They allege that rather than acting as a
‘whistle-blower’, he was doing so for his own commercial
gain.

In November 2021, Stolz was restrained from peaking publicly
about the case in any manner calculated to “intimidate,
harass, or otherwise bring improper pressure”
on it
during the proceedings.

During the proceedings, Stolz was tragically diagnosed with
cancer, and is still currently fighting the disease.

Two months ago, a video was posted on the
‘Friendlyjordies’ YouTube channel which featured an
interview with Stolz, conducted by producer,
Kristo Langker
.

In this video, titled “The Legal way to take a life”,
the case was discussed, as well as Stolz’s bleak prognosis.

ClubsNSW subsequently wrote to Shanks, detailing that he was in
contempt of court, with the video removed by YouTube.

However, the lobby is nevertheless pursuing an application to
the federal court seeking contempt proceedings be brought against
Stolz and Shanks.

The application details that Shanks: “knowingly
assisted Mr Stolz to disobey and breach the November 2021 order and
has, himself, published statements that scandalise the court and
have a tendency to interfere with the due administration of
justice.”

The application was also initially subjected to a suppression
order, with the court recently declining to make any further
suppression order past the decided interim period.

The contempt application was listed for a Directions Hearing on
23 September 2022, with Shanks and Stolz both advising the court
that they were ‘not guilty’.

The matter will be listed for hearing next year, to
determine
.

Against this backdrop, it is notable that the NSW Crime
Commission will shortly provide its findings as a result of
investigations into money laundering in licensed venues.

The Commission has previously raised alarms over the use of the
state’s poker machines for money laundering.

The legislation governing contempt of court, will depend upon
the jurisdiction in which the alleged offence has occurred.

CONTEMPT OF COURT OFFENCES AND PENALTIES IN NEW SOUTH
WALES

In the Local Court, contempt of court is criminalised under
section 24
of the Local Court Act 2007 (NSW), whereas
in the District Court it is criminalised under section
199
of the District Court Act 1973 (NSW).

Part 55 of the Supreme Court Rules 1970 (NSW) criminalises
contempt of court in Supreme Court.

A maximum penalty of a $2,200 fine and/or 28 days imprisonment
is applicable to the offence.

What is Criminal Contempt of Court?

Contempt of court is defined as an act which has the tendency to
interfere with or undermine the authority, performance, or dignity
of the courts or those who participate in their proceedings.

Where it is alleged that a person is in contempt, the Court may
order the person to be brought before the court or issue a warrant
for their arrest.

When the person is brought before the Court, the Court will
advise the person that they have been charged with contempt and
require the person to provide a defence to the charge, if any.

The matter of the charge will then be determined, with an order
for the punishment or discharge of the accused person, subsequently
made.

The Court has the authority to direct that the accused person be
kept in custody pending disposal of the charge.

The Supreme Court retains authority to order the release of an
offender, where they have been sentenced to imprisonment for the
offence, and the term is yet to expire.

Prosecutions for contempt of court usually arise due to
misbehaviour in a courtroom.

Examples of Contempt of Court Cases

Examples of contempt of court include
disobeying court orders, refusing to answer
questions at court, refusing to take an oath or affirmation,
refusing to answer a subpoena requiring attendance to give
evidence, or refusing to leave a courtroom after being directed to
do so.

Other interesting case examples are briefly outlined below:

In the case of Prothonotary v Wilson [1999] NSWSC 1148,
a plaintiff in civil proceedings was held to be in contempt after
they threw a bag containing yellow paint at the Judge, and another
at the Judge’s associate and a court reporter.

In Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of NSW v Katelaris
[2008] NSWSC 389, an offender was held in contempt after making
insulting remarks to a jury, after being found guilty.

However, mere ‘acts of rudeness’, discourtesy, or even
extreme discourtesy on the part of legal practitioners have been
held to not amount to contempt.

In Toner v Attorney General for
NSW
, a trial advocate’s contempt conviction was
overturned on appeal, after the Court found that a heated exchange
in which the counsel shouted at a Judge, was insufficient to
comprise contempt.

Commencing proceedings for contempt of court is a ‘last
resort’ and warnings, directions to leave a courtroom, or
ensuring a person has received legal advice, are options that may
be taken prior.



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