Jordan Shanks, known as Friendlyjordies, and whistleblower Troy Stolz will face offense prosecutions initiated by the powerful New South Wales club lobby, which has been pursuing the couple in secret for more than a month.
The development represents a dramatic escalation in the bitter dispute between ClubsNSW and Stolz, a former employee now diagnosed with cancer, and potentially puts Stolz and Friendlyjordies at risk of criminal convictions and imprisonment.
Stolz and ClubsNSW have been locked up in a lengthy federal court case for more than two years for his alleged illegal use of confidential information, including his decision to share details of the industry’s alleged non-compliance with anti-money laundering laws with reporters.
ClubsNSW persuaded a court in November to prevent Stolz from speaking publicly about the case in any way calculated to “intimidate, harass or otherwise exert improper pressure” on it during the proceedings.
Two months ago, YouTuber Shanks posted an interview between his producer, Kristo Langker, and Stolz, in which Stolz revealed he was being treated for cancer with a poor prognosis.
The interview prompted ClubsNSW to write to Shanks, warning him of contempt of court.
The video, titled “The Legal way to take a life”, has since been removed from YouTube.
The club lobby is submitting an application to the federal court to ask for an outrage proceeding against Stolz and Shanks.
He said Shanks “knowingly helped Mr. Stolz disobey and violate the November 2021 order and has, himself, published statements that scandalize the court and have a tendency to interfere with the proper administration of justice.”
The fact of that question was suppressed until Friday. The court issued a provisional suppression in late July, with no possibility for Shanks or Stolz to object. The precautionary order was to last until the suppression request could be heard in its entirety and decided by the court.
The court on Friday refused to issue the suppression order.
“In expressing this conclusion, I do not wish to be taken as an amnesty, in any way, of the publication by Mr. Stolz and Mr. Shanks-Markovina of the material ClubsNSW complains about,” said Judge Ian Yates.
“Likewise, I do not wish to be taken as a forgiver of the remarks that have been made by others on social media as a result of the conduct of Mr Stolz or Mr Shanks-Markovina. Mr Stolz’s personal remarks on this [ClubsNSW’s lawyer] in his professional capacity they are particularly unfortunate.
“Whether these remarks, and the other publications ClubsNSW complains about, are a violation of court orders, or are otherwise in contempt of court, is a matter that will be determined over time. At the moment I do not express any opinion on these issues “.
ClubsNSW said that disclosure that it was pursuing contempt proceedings against the couple could provide them “an opportunity to escalate attacks against ClubsNSW and its legal representatives.”
ClubsNSW states that Mr. Stolz and Mr. Shanks-Markovina suggests that they have incited him to bring outrage proceedings in order to provide them with a springboard to generate further waves of advertising and social media activity attacking ClubsNSW and its legal representatives in connection with starting and running these. proceedings, ”Yates said.
“ClubsNSW fears that the initiation of outrage proceedings against Mr. Stolz and Mr. Shanks-Markovina will provide Mr. Stolz and Mr. Shanks-Markovina with an opportunity to escalate the attacks against ClubsNSW and its legal representatives.”
The initial proceedings were initiated in April 2020. The statement of appeal, the document setting out the ClubsNSW case, was filed at the end of August.
He claims Stolz used ClubsNSW’s confidential information for his own business gain, including for his own consultancy work, and to share information with a variety of reporters.
He said that Stolz, as an employee, owed him a duty of trust. The documents, ClubsNSW argues, were used for an improper purpose, namely to “determine the cause.” [sic] to ClubsNSW, tarnishing the public reputation of ClubsNSW and its member clubs by publicly disclosing confidential information about their alleged AML / CTF compliance ”.
The complaint statement shows that ClubsNSW relies on a series of email exchanges Stolz had with individual reporters from the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Financial Review, 60 Minutes, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Daily Telegraph in the 2020.
Stolz has not yet presented any whistleblower defense in the case.
ClubsNSW declined to comment.
Attorney Mark Davis, acting for Shanks and Stolz, welcomed the decision to lift the suppression order.
“It is extraordinary that a private company like ClubsNSW can initiate criminal proceedings and hope to keep those proceedings completely secret,” he said.
“This is a very rare process where a private company actually takes the place of a prosecutor.”