Walsh’s new position causes delay in activist’s committal to High Court, since a new magistrate must handle proceedings

Committal proceedings for social activist Mary John have been adjourned to May 19 due to administrative issues.

John appeared in the Lower Court on Thursday, March 24, and was expected to be committed to the High Court for trial.

She had initially appeared before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh, who had granted her bail. 

However, since Walsh has been appointed Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, John’s matter will have to be heard by a new magistrate, who will handle the committal.

John was charged with contravening the Electronic Crimes Act, an offence she allegedly committed in October last year.  She was accused of using an electronic system to spread false messages via her social-media page.

The messages reportedly related to the killing of Jane Finch, who was found dead in her Piccadilly home in October 2021.

John identified a young woman as having been involved in the incident and posted her name and photograph online.

Although John removed the post from her Facebook page shortly after, the information had already begun making the rounds via social media.

The young woman who was mistakenly identified later reported the matter to the Police, which led to an investigation and then to John being arrested and charged.

The penalty for this offence is a fine of $500,000 or six years in prison, or both, when tried in the High Court.  The matter can also be tried in the Magistrates’ Court and carries a lower penalty there.