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NSW Supreme Court judge asks public not to contact him over Covid legal challenge

You can watch the matter here:

 

 

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A NSW Supreme Court judge has taken the extraordinary step of warning the public not to contact him as he prepares to hear a test case over NSW’s public health orders this week.

Justice Robert Beech-Jones will oversee a three-day trial in which Health Minister Brad Hazzard will defend the state government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two plaintiffs, Al-Munir Kassam and Natasha Henry, have filed civil suits challenging ­aspects of the public health ­orders instituted in response to the latest outbreak fuelled by the Delta variant.

Starting this Thursday, Justice Beech-Jones will hear the challenge to the rules that state essential workers must receive their first vaccinations by September 19 if they are to leave an LGA of concern for work purposes.

A Supreme Court spokesman confirmed that as of early Tuesday afternoon, Justice Beech-Jones’ chambers had ­received more than 1800 emails.

Anti-vaccine groups shared online messages encouraging people to contact Justice Beech-Jones and express their views on so-called mandatory vaccinations.

“EVERYONE needs to email and tell him that you oppose mandatory vaccinations, and you believe it is the individual’s right to choose,” said one call-out shared on social media.

The matter has attracted such immense interest that the court has been streaming all mentions of the matter on YouTube, with about 25,000 people on Tuesday morning tuning in to a directions hearing to deal with procedural issues.

Justice Beech-Jones took the unorthodox step of warning those watching online not to contact him unless they were lawyers for the two parties.

He said the deluge of emails and phone calls to his chambers had been so great, those with legitimate business with the court were having trouble getting through. He said he would not take any correspondence into consideration.

“Please understand I will not read any of your emails or take any of your calls,” Justice Beech-Jones said.

“People who do so risk interfering with the administration of justice. And anyone who encourages any of this to happen is equally encouraging the interference with the administration of justice.”

The matter will be subject to a three-day hearing starting on Thursday.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday announced that on ­December 1, unvaccinated persons would have restrictions lifted as part of a staged repealing of lockdown measures.

Barrister Jeremy Kirk, acting for Mr Hazzard, said he did not know if this would include the easing of restrictions which are being challenged in the suit.

The government is facing a further wave of lawsuits with another two other civil suits challenging the public health orders to go to trial in early November.

John Larter, a paramedic and southern NSW deputy mayor, is challenging rules stating that health staff must receive their first jabs by September 30 and be fully vaccinated by November 30.

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