Skip to Content

Colonial Cases

Attorney General v. Editors of the Palestine Bulletin and the Davar, 1930

[contempt of court, newspapers]

Attorney General v. Editors of the Palestine Bulleting and the Davar

High Court of Justice, Palestine
1930
Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 20 February 1930

 

PALESTINE BULLETIN SUMMONED FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT.

   Tomorrow, the Attorney-General is making an application in the High Court of Justice before the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Baker, against the Palestine Bulletin under the Contempt of Court Ordinance.  The article for which the summons is being brought appeared on February 9th in the "Without Prejudice" column and was a translation of an editorial which appeared in the Hebrew newspaper, the Davar.    

  

The Palestine Bulletin, 23 February 1930

PALESTINE BULLETIN SUMMONED FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT.

CASE ADJOURNED.

   The Palestine Bulletin and the Hebrew daily Davar were summoned before the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Baker in the High Court of Justice on Friday morning, under the Contempt of Court Ordinance.  The article for which the summons was brought appeared on February 9th in the "Without Prejudice" column of the Palestine Bulletin and was a translation of an editorial which had appeared in the Davar.

   When the session opened, Mr. Horowitz, counsel for the Palestine Bulletin, offered an apology to the Court on behalf of his client.  Mr. Horowitz said, "We are being charged with having published an article, which had appeared in the Davar, under the specific heading, "Without Prejudice."  This column is intended to give the views of other papers.  The responsible editor of the Davar is out of the country and since our case is closely linked with that of the Davar, the gravity of the Palestine Bulletin's offence cannot be determined until the case of the other newspaper has been heard.

   Dr. Smoira, who appeared on behalf of the Davar, stated that the responsible editor is at present out of the country.  If the Court is willing, the business manager or the sub-editor will give evidence for him.

   Mr. Sherwell, Public Prosecutor, said that the Davar is charged with having published an article that is calculated to prejudice the proceedings which are standing before the Criminal Assizes Court, those of Urphali and Hinkis.  Until the final appeal has been delivered, continued Mr. Sherwell, the Court has not finished with the case. The Palestine Bulletin published a copy of this article, which has scandalised the Court.

   After consultation, the Court agreed that the sub-editor of the Davar should be summoned.  The case will be continued tomorrow morning at 8:30.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                          

The Palestine Bulletin, 25 February 1930

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND CONTEMPT OF COURT.

Palestine Bulletin and The Davar Summoned.

   The case of the Palestine Bulletin and the Hebrew daily, Davar, was re-opened in the Supreme Court yesterday morning.  The Davar was charged with publishing two articles, one on its English supplement on January 28th, the other on February 7th in its Hebrew edition.  The newspaper made references to the Orphali and Hinkis cases which were "calculated" to prejudice the proceedings still pending in the Courts. It was further charged with Contempt of Court.

   Similar charges were brought against the Palestine Bulletin for having printed a translation of the Hebrew article.

   The Court was composed or Chief Justice McDonnell and Mr. Justice Baker.  Mr. Sherwell acted as Public Prosecutor.

   In the absence of the editor, Mr. Zalman Rubashoff was summoned to represent Davar.  Dr. Smoira, Counsel for the Davar, stated that his client had asked that he make his plea in Hebrew, so that he might better understand.  He submitted to the Court a translation of the Hebrew article which he said was exact and accurate.  It included the first paragraph which had been eliminated from the official translation.  His client, he said, was anxious that the Court should hear the article intact, in order, that they might better understand the true tendency of the article as a whole, which refers to "legal investigations." "I ask that, the Court disregard the article which appeared in the Palestine Bulletin, since there were many differences in the translation."

   Chief Justice McDonnell: There are some differences, but the general tendency is the same.

   Dr. Smoira: Our article does not refer to"judicial proceedings" but to "legal investigations."  The official translation uses the phrase "judicial proceedings" in one place and "legal investigations" in another.  Our article made no such differences; it referred only to "legal investigations."  I ask, therefore, that the Court consider just that translation.

   We do not refer to the judges - our reference was only to "legal investigations."  Our criticism was not intended to be directed against the judges but against the investigation preceding the Court hearings.

   Chief Justice McDonnell: The intention is not important.  What is important, is the impression made on the reader.

   Dr. Smoira: From what I know of cases in England, the accused is always given an opportunity to justify his acts and of showing his intentions.  My client's intention, in this and other articles, after cases had been decided, was not at all to injure the honour of the Court.

   Mr. Justice Baker: In four or five places, the word Court is mentioned.

   Dr. Smoira: The article stated that "a hidden hand is working in the investigations so that the Court cannot render just judgment.  I think that the article should be judged as a whole and not bit by bit.  If the Court is in doubt about my translation, it can call expert witnesses to testify as to its exactness.

   I do not want to underestimate the Importance of the Legislative, but I feel that the Press should have the maximum of freedom.  I refer the Court to the Law Times Report of 1896 in which a similar case is brought before an English Court.

   Dr. Smoira discussed analogous cases in detail.  He cited precedents in several Contempt of Court cases brought under the English Common Law.

   In those cases I have quoted, continued Dr. Smoira, the judges were abused in very indecent language, and the Lord Chief Justice was personally attacked.  No such phrases appear in our article - phrases liable to injure the honour of the judges.  Neither is there a possibility that the witnesses could be influenced by these articles.  Where there are juries sitting, articles might prejudice the proceedings of the Court.  But here there is no jury and I do not think that these articles could influence the learned judges.

Why The Palestine Bulletin Published The Article. (Continued from page 1.)

   It is impossible to find in the general remarks which these articles contain, anything which is likely to influence the witnesses who are to give fresh evidence in the new trial granted to Orphali.  It seems to me that in order to bring a charge of "calculating to prejudice the Court" it is necessary for the accused to have mad specific references either to witnesses or persons closely connected with the case.  Even a jury could not have been influenced by our general remarks.

First Case Of Its Kind.      

   I take the liberty, said Dr. Smoira, of discussing our case at length because it is the first of its kind to be heard in Palestine.    

   I think we are concerned with two points, namely: the Administration of Joystick and the Liberty of the Press.  It is not difficult to have published articles likely to prejudice the man in the street or the general public.  It is necessary to show that the articles are liable to touch the course of justice.

   The aim of the writers of these articles was not to influence the judges who sit in the Supreme Court or the Court of Criminal Assizes.  Their charge is clearly against the method of investigation in this country.  If the Court, however, find that the articles are liable to injure the honour of the judges, my client stands ready to offer a full apology.

   Mr. Sherwell: The articles of the Davar deal specifically which the Hinkis case, which may not only hear additional witnesses but may also refer the case back to the Court of Criminal Assizes.  And the Court of Criminal Assizes may be considered in the same light as a jury.  I ask: Does this article refer to the administration of justice or not?  To my mind it does most deliberately.

   Dr. Smoira: I object to the use of the word "deliberately."  The charge is "calculated" and not "deliberately" prejudicing the proceedings of the Court.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

   Mr. Sherwell: I beg your pardon.  I withdraw the word "deliberately."

   Mr. Sherwell: Any one who reads these articles will see that there is "Contempt of Court" there.  He will also get the impression that the Court who heard the case is anti-Jewish, with the result that there is clear injustice being done to Jews.  So far as the Attorney-General is concerned, my instructions are to make no comments.

   "Legal investigations ... being corrupted by an unseen hand"; the allegation is that from the Attorney-General, the Courts, and the Policeman.  My argument is that these articles throw a stigma on the Court.  It also shows that there is injustice to the Jews on the Part of the prosecution.  I submit that the case is clearly "calculated to prejudice the proceedings of the Court and to bring Contempt on the Court."  It aims a very serious blow at public security, by an attack on the Court.  This article forms an obstruction to justice.  Its intention is clearly to make the people disbelieve the Court.

   The English supplement of the Davar which referred to the Orphali case, made a grave error in recording the Judgment.  In the last paragraph of that article, the writer clearly prejudiced the re-trial of the case.  The object of that article is to influence the Court in favour of the Jews and of the accused.

   Dr. Smoira presented a translation of an article which had appeared in the Davar after the Macleff decision, which tended to prove that the paper had confidence in the judgment of the Court.  The article, however, had expressed the opinion that the "investigations" are at fault.  He said that he did not agree with the public prosecutor that the Court could be influenced in the same way as juries.

   Dr. Smoira: In the cases which I cited the judges did not wish to protect their honour but to stop interference with the course of justice.  The words "hidden hand" should be read with the passages preceding and following it.  The reference is clerkly to the method of investigations, which is proven in the Hebron cases.  The Police there have obviously been able to arrest all the murderers.  If the Public Prosecutor is unable to prepare adequate material the Judges are unable to do much beyond that.  We have nothing against justice acting in the Courts.  I wart to say that the "hidden hand" is an external hand acting outside the Court, and causing a miscarriage of justice.

   I want to make a general remark that the writers of these articles were educated on the Continent, here such laws as forbid the writing and publishing of articles on cases pending trial do not exist.

   I object to the Public Prosecutor's use of the phrase "judges are corrupted" and I say that there is not the slightest reference to corruption in the Courts.  In also repeat that the word "investigations," considering the Hebrew original "Hakira," does not include the Judges.

   I want to repeat, in conclusion, that if the Court finds that there is anything in the article which reflects on the integrity of the Judges, then my client will submit a full apology.

   Mr. Horowitz, Counsel for the Palestine Bulletin, who followed Dr. Smoira, said: My client wishes to apologise for any Contempt of Court which they might have innocently committed.  The charge which the prosecution has brought against us is for "calculating" and not"intending."  If any "Contempt" exists, the fault was in the interpretation of the article.  We must wait for the decision of the Court in the case of the Davar, which my learned friend Dr. Smoira has pleaded this morning before the Court.  If there are any exaggerated remarks in the article as it appeared in the Palestine Bulletin, remarks which might have been a reflection on the Courts, I wish to offer the fullest apologies.  The object of publishing such articles is to inform the reader.  They are not the views of the paper and are, therefore, placed under the words "Without Prejudice."  My client is not responsible for expressing those views - the aim is to show the views of the Arab and Hebrew Press.  According to the Public Prosecutor, the article is calculated to prejudice the proceedings not merely of the Court of Criminal Assizes, but also the Court of Appeal.  I think I need waste no time with this.  It is too preposterous.  I ask that the charge against us be confined to the question of the trial of the Hinkis case before the Court of Appeal.  At the time the article appeared, the Hinkis case was before the Court of Appeal.

   I am acquainted with the English practice.  And I know of no instance where charges were brought for attempts to influence judges.  I should consider it an insult to the honour of the Judges if a suggestion were made that an article in the Press might influence them.  In ordinary cases of the Court of Criminal Assizes, one assumes that the legally trained mind of the judges is above any remarks made by any one.  That is why the stress is placed, in English cases, that articles are likely to prejudice the mind of the jury and not the judges.

   Mr. Justice Baker, at this point, cited a case nib which judgment was given against an article which"scandalised the Court."

   Mr. Horowitz: I agree with every word of this case.  But that is"scandalising" and not "prejudicing."

   As far as the Bulletin is concerned, it has had no editorial comment on the Macleff or the Hinkis case.  This article was published in order to give the English readers the views of the day.  If the Court find that this article, as published, is calculated to prejudice the proceedings of the Court, my client regrets its publication.

   Chief Justice McDonnell: I want to call your attention to the fact that the words "Judicial" and "a hidden influence against the Jews working through the Judiciary" are used.

   Mr. Horowitz: This is literally correct.  The editor felt that it was a more inclusive term.  For the Hebrew word "Hakira" he substituted "Judiciary."  This article is clearly a paraphrasing of the original.  It is not suggested that this paraphrase was deliberately made against the Court.

   Chief Justice McDonnell:  If we accept Dr. Smoira's argument, then your client is placed in a worse position.

   Mr. Horowitz: It was an innocent paraphrase of an original article.

   I ask that the Court deal leniently with my client, if it finds that there is a real charge.  They are trying their best to give news and views to the English reader.

   At this point the Court adjourned.

   The Chief Justice announced that the judgment would be given on Thursday morning at 8:45.

 

The Palestine Bulletin, 28 February 1930]

PALESTINE NEWSPAPERS FINED FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT.

Palestine Bulletin To Pay LP 10, Davar To Pay LP 80.

   Yesterday the Court ordered the Palestine Bulletin to pay s fine of L.P. 10 and the Hebrew daily the Davar to pay L.P. 80 on a charge of Contempt of Court.  In addition, both papers were ordered to publish apologies, and the judgment of the Court in the case. ...

   The Chief Justice read the judgment of the Court.  ...

   The Court rejected Dr. Smoira's plea that the articles had not attacked the honour of the Judges; that they had not questioned their conduct of the court, but the process of legal investigation.  The Court had found, said Chief Justice McDonnell, that the articles had contained clear contempt; they they had contained to the effect that even handed justice was not being dealt out between Arab and Jew in the Courts of Palestine.  Such an innuendo was grave everywhere, but it was especially grave in Palestine at this time.

   The Court also rejected Dr. Smoira's plea that the articles had not reflected on the honour of the judges.  "Not to salve the wounded honours of Judges - if Judges are capable of being wounded by the attacks of such sheets - but to uphold the integrity and authority of the Courts. Judges must seek redress.  To charge Judges with injustice is more serious than charging them with corruption," the Chief Justice said citing a judgment of the English Court.

   Mr. Justice McDonnell said that the Court considered the Palestine Bulletin's translation of the Davar article, regarding the Hinkis case, as "very fair," the only difference was in the title, which read "injustice ton Jews."  Mr. McDonnell accepted the apology offered by Mr. Horowitz, Counsel for the Palestine Bulletin, but it reproached the newspaper for giving further circulation to the article in the Davar.

   Mr. Schwartz, the responsible Editor of the Palestine Bulletin, and Mr. Zalman Ribashow, sub-Editor of the Davar, paid the ordered fines.

                   

The Palestine Bulletin, 2 March 1930.

JUDGMENT IN CONTEMPT OF COURT CASE.

High Court No. 10/30.

IN THE SUPREME COURT SITTING AS A HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE.

BEFORE: The Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Baker.

In the Application of:

The Attorney General, Petitioner

v.

Responsible Editor of the "Palestine Bulletin" Sch. Schwartz, Respondent.

   Application for an Order to issue to the Respondent to show cause why he should not be punished under the Contempt of Court Ordinance 1929.

Judgment.

   This is a return to a rule nisi calling upon Mr. Schwartz to show cause why he should not be punished under Section 4 (1) of the Contempt of Court Ordinance No. 12 of 1929 for an article with reference to judicial proceedings pending in the Courts of Justice calculated to prejudice such proceedings and to bring into contempt the Court before which such proceedings are pending.

   It is not necessary for us to deal with this at great length in view of our judgment in Attorney General v. Rubashoff.

   The article under the general heading "Without Prejudice" is headed "Injustice to Jews": below this "From the Hebrew Daily the Davar."

   The heading "Injustice to Jews" is a novelty introduced by the Bulletin.  For the rest the article with some slight omissions is a very fair translation of that in the Hebrew Davar with which we have been dealing.

   We have dealt in our judgment in the Davar case with the only point of law raised by Mr. Horowitz, namely, that, as the Hinkis case is pending in the Court of Appeal, the article is not calculated to prejudice proceedings there.  We need only repeat that the Court of Appeal has the power to call or recall witnesses on the hearing and for this reason the article is calculated to prejudice those proceedings.

   We need not, therefore, stop to consider further Mr. Horowitz's point that he knows of no case in England where a contempt was held to be committed by prejudicing proceedings when there was no jury but only a judge.  We will only note in passing that there is cited, in Shipworth's case 4 L.R. (1873-4) IX QB at p. 235, a case called Letchmere Charlrton's Case in which it was held to be contempt to interfere with the court of justice in the Court of Chancery by letters threatening the Master in Chancery, and Lord Cottenham said in that case, as we might well say in this.

"If I consulted my own personal feelings upon the subject, I should pass by these letters as a foolish attempt at undue influence, but if I were to adopt that course, I should consider myself guilty of very great dereliction of my duty."

   Mr., Horowitz has not been able to address any argument to us on the question of scandalising the Court.  In our view, very properly, he stated, ton use his own words, that his clients "wish to apologise humbly, abjectly and absolutely for any contempt they may have committed." We will take this duly into account.  We will also take into consideration the fact that the article did not originate in the columns of the Bulletin, but at the same time we must mark our disapproval of the fact of the editor of an English paper falling into the error of giving further currency to matter such as this.

   We make the rule absolute in this case.  We order the respondent to publish within eight days in the Palestine Bulletin the apology which he has offered through advocate, and in the same issue to publish a compete copy of this judgment and of that in the proceedings in Attorney General v. Zalman Rubashoff (without which this judgment cannot be understood), and we further order that Schwartz pay a fine of L.P. 10 and be detained, and if necessary, lodged in the Jerusalem Central Prison until this sum be paid.

Delivered this 27th day of February, 1930.

(Signed) Michael F. J. McDonnell, CHIEF JUSTICE.

High Court No. 11/30.

IN THE SUPREME COURT SITTING AS A HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE.

BEFORE: The Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Baker.

In the application of:

The Attorney General, Petitioner,

v.

Zalman Rubashoff, sub-editor of the "Davar" newspaper, Respondent.

Judgment.

   This is a return to a rule nisi calling upon Mr. Zalman Rubashoff, the sub-editor of the Davar newspaper to show cause why he should not be punished under Section 4 (1) of the Contempt of Court Ordinance No. 12 of 1929 for having published in the Davar newspaper of the 7th February, 1930, and in the issue of its Weekly English Supplement of the 28th January, 1930, articles with reference to judicial proceedings pending in the Courts of justice calculated to prejudice such proceedings and to bring into contempt the Court before which such proceedings are pending.

   The original rule was directed against Mr. B. Kaznelson, the editor of the newspaper, but we were informed that he was temporarily absent from the country and that Rubashoff was responsible for the paper in his absence.

   In the original application for a rule nisi the Government Advocate put in a translation of the Hebrew Article in the Davar of 7th February, 1930, of which complaint is made.  The Court then put into the box its official Hebrew interpreter and made him orally translate the article sentence by sentence, while it checked the written translation put in by the Government Advocate, which, subjected to that test, was found to contain only two minor errors irrelevant to the present case.  The article is headed "Want of confidence" and the passage complained of will be dealt with by us later, but we must preface these matters by saying that the contempt alleged is twofold, namely that the observations serve to scandalise, as the phrase is, the Courts concerned, and secondly that they are of such a nature that they may prejudice proceedings which are pending before the Courts.  The cases referred ton in the article are the Makleff case, in which a number of Arabs were acquitted by the Court of Assize, and the Hinkis case in which one Jew was convicted and sentenced to death by a differently constituted Court of Assize, an appeal from which conviction and sentence is now pending before the Court of Criminal Appeal.

   In the typewritten translation of the article which has been put before us by the Respondent occur the following two phrases:

"Undoubtedly it would appear as if the judicial investigation in the country had departed from the straight path"

And at the close of the article the phrase:

"It is an expression of the serious crisis in the public confidence in the Palestine judicial investigation."

   At the opening of the proceedings on the return to the rule nisi Mr. Smoira, for the respondent, asked that for the words "judicial investigation" in these two phrases should be substituted  what he declared was the more correct rendering namely "legal investigation" and he asked us to believe that the criticism was directed not at the proceedings in Court but at the investigations preliminary to Court proceedings, so that in effect the criticisms were directed only at at the fact that the cases were presented by the prosecution to the Judges in a biassed manner.

   In the translation tendered to the Court by the Government Advocate, which, as we have said, was carefully checked, the first passage runs:

"Undoubtedly the legal investigation in this country would appear to have departed from the right path."

   This passage in the Government Advocate's translation is followed by:

"No doubt a hidden hand would appear to arrange the affairs of the court to the detriment of the Jews.  That is why one's complete confidence in the judgment is shaken.  One had no more

Judgment In Contempt Of Court Case.

(Continued from page 1.)

confidence that the offender will not be acquitted and the innocent punished."

   In the respondent's translation t reads:

    "Undoubtedly it would appear as if a hidden hand arranges the affairs of the Court to the detriment of the Jews.  This is the reason why full confidence in judgments is shaken.  The assurance is gone that the guilty will not be acquitted and the innocent will not be punished."

   I will proceed to read the remainder of the article as translated in the respondent's copy:

   "This is why in the Hinkis case also, with all our condemnation of the crime and all our grief over it - we must ask ourselves: What assurance have we that the hidden hand has not also been active in the collection of the material and mobilisation of the whiteness and in throwing a strong light on the whole matter which would have brought about the death sentence? What assurance have we that Hinkis did commit the terrible deed for which the Court has sentenced him?  If it was impossible to find the murderers of Makleff, there is no assurance at all that the murderers of Sheikh Abdel A'an have been discovered.  The excitement which has seized the Jewish people is not at all an apology for acts of reprisal. It is an expression of the serious crisis in the public confidence in the Palestine judicial investigation."

  

   The last two words, as I have said, we were asked by Mr. Smoira to replace by "legal investigation."  In the other translation we find this final sentence translated thus:

   "It is an expression of the severe crisis in the confidence of the community in judicial investigation in Palestine."

   The Palestine Bulletin in its issue of February 9th translated this phrase:

   "It is but an expression of the complete collapse of the Jewish faith in judicial proceeding in Palestine."

   In view of these translations and of the whole context of the observations, we are quite unable to accept the plea supported only by the eleventh hour correction of the respondent's own translation, and that which was criticised was, not the judicial determination of these cases, but merely the preparation thereof by the police and the Crown Law Office and the presentation of them by the Government Advocate to the Court.

   With regard to the contempt alleged in the English Supplement of the Davar of January 28th, it is very significant that Mr. Smoira made no attempt to justify it in his speech showing cause, and that in replying to the Government Advocate all that he could plead was that there was in it no scandalising of the Court though, as he somewhat naively remarked "the text is not very happy."

   In this article reference is mad to the Makleff verdict by which a number of Arabs were acquitted, and this part of the article concluded with the words "Can a more dangerous state of things be imagined than a widespread despair of attaining justice and security through the Courts."

   Dealing with the Orfali case, in which a Jew was convicted by the Court of Assize, but which the Court of Appeal remitted for further evidence, it completely misrepresents a discrepancy between the evidence of prosecution witnesses and that of an Arab doctor, and concludes with these words:

   "The Makleffs were indisputably victims of a murderous gang.  The Arabs killed in Jaffa were of the assailing crowd.  Yet in the former case the Court displayed the most meticulous care in not pronouncing the accused guilty, while in the latter it was ready to send a man to the gallows on the ground of evidence which crumbled before the Court of Appeal."

   The conclusion to which we have come is that on both these articles there are libels on the integrity of the Court, that in each there is an innuendo that the Judges are biassed, and that even handed justice as between Jew and Arab has not been dealt out by the judiciary in these trials.  We also are satisfied, since these cases are still pending, whether in the Court of Appeal or in Court of Assize in either of which new witnesses may be called, or witnesses who have already testified may be recalled, that they are calculated to prejudice the proceedings pending in the Courts concerned.

   With regard to that part of the contempt which consists in scandalising the Courts, we wish to say more.  Mr. Smoira on more than one occasion referred to the "honour of the Court."  He said that no phrase in either article was liable to injure the "honour of the Court," and in conclusion stated that if the Court food that there was anything in the article in the nature of an attack on the "honour of the Court" his clients were prepared to publish an apology.

   The use of this phrase shows a complete misapprehension of the nature of these proceedings.  It is not to salve the wounded anour propre of individual judges - if it can be wounded by attacks in sheets such as these - that proceedings of this nature are taken, but it is to prevent the authority of the law from being weakened in the eyes of the public at large.

   In England itself the traditions of centuries have made such proceedings exceedingly rare.  In McLeod v. St. Aubyn, L.R. (1899) A.C. p. 561, the Judicial Committee stated that they had become obsolete in England.  Subsequently legal history shows that that statement went too far, but even in that case, dealing with the Island of St. Vincent in the West Indies, the Judicial Committee held that in small colonies consisting principally of a coloured population the enforcement in proper cases of committal for contempt of court for attacks on the Court may be absolutely necessary to preserve in such a community the dignity of, and respect for, the Court.

   In the circumstances of Palestine the legislature has decided that this sanction should be given statutory authority in Ordinance No. 12 of 1929.

   Reference has been made to the case of R. v. Davie L.R. (1906) 1 KB p 34 and I wish to read the following most relevant passage from Wills J.'s judgment:

"What then is the principle which is the root of and underlies the cases in which persons have been punished for attacks upon Coutts and interference with the due execution of their orders?  It will be found to be, not the purpose of protecting either the Court as a whole or the individual judges of the Court from a repetition of them, but of protecting the public, and especially those who, either voluntarily or by compulsion are subject to its jurisdiction, from the mischief they will incur if the authority of the tribunal be undermined or impaired.

   See the judgment prepared by Wilmot C.J. in Rex v.  Almon (1765), but not delivered because the case was allowed to drop: Wilmot's opinions, p. 256.  The word "authority" is used by him to express "the deference and respect which is paid" to the judges of a Court and their acts from an opinion of their justice and integrity."  These words are apt with respect to the particular case with which he was dealing.  But what possible difference in principle can there be in respect of direct attacks upon Coutts or Judges, and of writings, the tendency of which is to deprive the inferior Courts beforehand of the possibility of doing even-handed and impartial justice according to the due course of law?  To hold that there was a distinction would give colour to the notion, which cannot be too strongly repudiated, that the offended dignity of a particular Court, or of the persons who compose it, is the subject of punishment in such a case. 

   "The object of the discipline enforced by the Court in case of contempt of Court," says Bowman L.J. "is not to vindicate the dignity of the Court or the person of the judge, but to prevent undue interference with the administration of justice."  Helmore v. Smith (1886) 35 Ch. D. 449, 455; and a considerable part of the undelivered judgment of Wilmot C.J. to which we have referred is devoted to shewing that the real offence is the wrong done to the public by weakening the authority and influence of a tribunal which exists for their good alone."  He adds that such conduct is pre-eminently the proper subject of summary jurisdiction.  Attacks upon the judges, he says, "excite in the minds of the people a general dissatisfaction with all judicial determinations ... and whenever men's allegiance to the laws is so fundamentally shaken, it is the most fatal and dangerous obstruction of justice, and in my opinion call out for a more rapid and immediate redress than any other obstruction whatsoever; not for the sake of the judges as private individuals, but because they are the channels by which the King's justice is conveyed to the people.  To be impartial and to be universally thought so are both absolutely necessity for the giving justice that free, open and unimpaired current which it has for many ages found all over this kingdom."

   To undermine and impair the authority of the courts at any time and in any place is serious to do so in a territory of this nature at such a time as this is very much more serious.

   The Davar describes itself as a Palestinian Labour Daily, the clientele to which it appeals is a cosmopolitan proletariat coming, it may be, from countries where the confidence in the impartiality and probity of the tribunals is not what it is in territories under British Rule.

   Special legislation was passed in Ordinance No. 31 of 1929 to enable cases arising out of the riots to be tried by British Judges, so as to relieve Judges with local affiliations on either side from invidious duty of trying such charges.

  The Courts so constituted have been the object of these attacks.

   As is said on p. 49 of the 3rd Edition of Oswald on Contempt, quoting Hawkins Pleas of the Crown and R. v. Staffordshire County Court Judges (1888) 57 L.J. Q.B. 483, "To charge a Judge with injustice is a grievous contempt: to accuse him of corruption might be a worse insult; but a charge of injustice is as gross an insult as can be imagined short of that."

   These words indicate the gravity of the present contempt.

   We make the rule absolute in this case.  We order the respondent to publish within eight days in the Davar and in the English Supplement thereto the apology which he has offered through his advocate, and in the same issue respectively to publish in the Davar a complete verified translation into Hebrew and in the Supplement a complete certified copy in English of this judgment.

   We further order that Zalman Rubashoff pay a fine of L.P. 80 and be detained, and, if necessary, lodged in the Jerusalem Central Prison until this sum be paid.

   Delivered this 27h day of February, 1930.

   (Sgd). Michael F. J. McDonnell, CHIEF JUSTICE.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School