We’ve seen some pretty interesting justifications from the powerful and wealthy for requesting that certain court cases concerning their good selves be subject to suppression orders.

Most recently — attached to the affidavit from Gina Rinehart’s lawyer outlining why she feared the lifting of the suppression order over her the details of her family squabble could jeopardise the safety of her nearest and dearest — were a number of examples from … the internet.

But Solomon Lew’s request to the Supreme Court takes the cake.

Jack Fajgenbaum, QC, appeared before a Supreme Court hearing yesterday on behalf of the retail magnate to seek to suppress further coverage of his multimillion-dollar family legal stoush. Fajgenbaum said his client wanted reports made anonymous in the same way as those of related Family Court proceedings to protect Lew’s grandchildren from ”hurtful gossip” at school.

Yes, that’s right, his grandchildren are being teased. Lew’s lawyer told the courts the media reports were “vindictive”, and ”motivated by some personal animus” — and added that Lew “… has always been portrayed in these articles as some sort of greedy ogre”.

As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, Justice Jennifer Davies has reserved her decision, but denied an application to have reports of yesterday’s hearing suppressed until then, citing extensive reporting of the proceeding on the internet and on ABC Radio and arguing the reports rendered such an order futile.

There’s that internet again. Wealthy, powerful, sensitive types like Rinehart and Lew might ultimately be successful when it comes to their respective court cases, but they’re fighting a losing battle when it comes to controlling their image.


Editor’s note: This just in — as most of you know by now, I will soon be sailing over the horizon for a short while to replace the Crikey deadline with a series of rolling, mini, baby-shaped deadlines. After a galaxy-wide search, we’re very chuffed to announce that our dear deputy editor Jason Whittaker will be settling into the big chair as of May 14 to become your fearless leader. For the official word on Crikey‘s very own, very smooth, leadership transition and our new publisher appointment, click here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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