Crikey editor Misha Ketchell writes:

Northern Territory Chief Justice Brian Martin has got his apology from the Fairfax papers over a story in the SMH and Age last weekend which claimed that barrister Rex Wild QC called the judge by his first name when addressing him in court:

The SMH writes:
Saturday’s News Review article
“Witness to horror” should not have said Rex Wild, QC, had addressed
the presiding judge, Chief Justice Brian Martin, by his Christian name
during legal argument. Listening to audio tapes proved the assertion
incorrect and the Herald withdraws any suggestion to the contrary.

And The Age says:
We Were Wrong
An
article published on page three of Saturday’s Insight section, “The
Heat On Joanne Lees,” should not have said Rex Wild, QC, had addressed
the presiding judge in the Falconio murder trial, Chief Justice Brian
Martin, by his Christian name during legal argument. That was incorrect
and The Age withdraws any suggestion to the contrary and apologises to Chief Justice Martin and Mr Wild for any hurt or damage suffered.

Yesterday
we were critical of Justice Martin for alleging the claim was wrong but
not allowing the newspapers to listen to the tape to check for
themselves whether a correction was warranted.

The papers have
now listened to the tape and retracted – and so far there has been no
sign of the eight journalists who allegedly heard Mr Wilde refer to His
Honour as Brian.

Audio tapes don’t necessarily pick up
everything said in court, but at this stage it would be churlish to do
anything other than acknowledge that on the available evidence it seems
His Honour had a legitimate complaint and the Fairfax papers (and The Guardian, where the story also appeared) have done the right thing to retract and apologise.

Peter Fray

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