Federal ministers apologise over criticism of Victorian terrorism cases


Three Turnbull ministers have apologised for comments about the Victorian judiciary and have been spared from being referred for contempt.

Three Turnbull government ministers who criticised Victorian judges over terror sentencing have avoided contempt charges after they apologised unreservedly for their comments.

Health Minister Greg Hunt, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar had criticised the Victorian judiciary for being soft on sentencing terrorists.

The trio, who were not in court, said in a statement through their barrister Stephen Donaghue QC they apologised for their critical remarks and language used in an article in The Australian newspaper on June 13, where they accused the Victorian judiciary of being soft on terrorism.

"We offer that apology now," Mr Donaghue said on Friday.

"It was never our intention to influence the court."

Victorian Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Warren said there is a strong case of contempt against the three ministers, and their full and unreserved apologies were not made at the earliest opportunity.

"The delay is most regrettable and aggravated the contempt," she said.

She said but for the apologies and retractions by the ministers and The Australian newspaper, the court would have referred the parties for contempt charges.

When the ministers were first hauled before the court on June 16 Mr Donaghue repeatedly said the ministers withdrew their comments but would not apologise.

Source AAP

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