Bodie guilty of contempt, fined $2,500
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Jul 03, 2012
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Isaacs found talk show host Ortland Bodie Jr. in contempt of court yesterday and ordered him to donate $2,500 to the Ranfurly Homes for Children by July 9 or spend seven days in Her Majesty’s Prisons.
Isaacs admonished Bodie for broadcasting “drivel” to the world and said comments the radio talk show host made about him were akin to “murder by whisper”.
Before he made his
ruling, Isaacs said Bodie’s comments “invited ridicule to the seat of justice”.
The judge added that Bodie’s former career as a lawyer made his mistake worse.
“I consider this offense to be egregious, particularly because it was committed by a person who was a lawyer when I was called to the bar 30 years ago,” Isaacs said.
He added that judges are open to fair criticism, but personal attacks crossed the line into contempt of court and shook the public’s faith in the legal system.
“Freedom of speech is a constitutional guarantee... but comes with a responsibility not to impinge on another person,” the judge said.
After the hearing, Bodie said he had “learned a hard lesson” and was thankful that he was not sent to jail for the offense.
“I admit that I was totally wrong for the words that I spoke about the judge,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.
“In the heat of the moment of my radio talk show I made the remarks which I was punished for, and I think justifiably punished. The judge could have sent me to Fox Hill Prison summarily this morning.
“I am simply relieved not to have to do the Bank Lane shuffle this morning. It will teach me a lesson — watch my juicy mouth in future.”
The Bank Lane shuffle is the term many people use to refer to the walk that criminals and suspected criminals take to and from court while being escorted by police.
Bodie said he would pay the fine “within hours” after leaving court and planned to donate more than the ordered sum to the children’s home. He also said he would apologize for the offense for the next seven days on his radio show.
The contempt charge was related to remarks Bodie made on “Real Talk Live” on More 94 FM on June 21.
At the start of the proceedings, Bodie’s attorney Keith Seymour argued that the remarks the talk show host made on June 21 were “discourteous” but did not meet the standard for contempt.
However, the judge did not accept this argument.
On June 29, Bodie filed a supplementary affidavit, which contained an apology to the court. According to that document, which Bodie read on the stand, he told his listeners that he and Justice Isaacs were good friends.
According to the affidavit, Bodie said the judge had adjourned a case of “an alleged murderer” and called the trial delay “nonsense”.
“He [Isaacs] doesn’t want me to talk his business but if he challenges me I will talk it,” Bodie told his listeners on June 21, according to the affidavit.
However, Bodie admitted in the newly filed affidavit that he knew of nothing that would impugn the judge’s character and said his references were made “on the spur of the moment.”
In the affidavit, Bodie said his statements were innocent and without malicious intent. He added that he would apologize on his talk show and requested that the motion against him be “dismissed in good faith”.
Bodie then apologized profusely and threw himself at the mercy of the court.
“I am so sorry,” he told the judge. “I have offended the court greatly. I have brought the administration of justice into suspicion. I should have known better. I do know better. I should have exercised better discretion.
“I do concede that the public could have drawn some sinister inferences [from my comments].”
He told the judge he would have apologized earlier if he had the chance.