CrimeNet may be cast upon the Pacific

Controversial Australian crime website CrimeNet may be next to join the lenient Vanuatu business community if government pressures don't let up, managing director Ken Schultz has warned.

Schultz's warning follows a spate of criticism surrounding the site which emerged last week, when a Victorian Supreme Court judge aborted a murder re-trial due to anticipated jury prejudice resulting from a criminal's record published on the site.

The Federal and Victorian Attorneys General both expressed privacy concerns about the site, and have proposed to discuss the site's future in a Commonwealth Attorneys General standing committee meeting in July. The Victorian Attorney General, Rob Hulls, has already called for the site to be taken down.

However, with discussions regarding the overseas sale of the site already underway, Schultz said an unfavourable outcome of the meeting will only result in an identical site operating out of Vanuatu, New Zealand, Japan or the US.

"The Attorney General and other authorities will have no control over it at that point," Shultz said.

Until the July committee meeting, a government spokesperson said the Federal Attorney General, Darryl Williams, would "like" the site to close down. However, the spokesperson conceded that the government had no legal grounds on which to shut the site down before the meeting.

"I find it oppressive that a legally incorporated Australian company carrying on a lawful business should be asked, or perhaps pressured . . . to close its operations and hence sack its staff," Schultz said, adding that CrimeNet had already been forced to alter the content of the site due to pressure from the government.

At $6 a throw, visitors of Melbourne-based CrimeNet.com.au can access lists of convicted pedophiles, con artists and other criminals. The site is not affiliated with any police force.

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