Victoria’s anti-corruption watchdog has launched court action to prevent the Age newspaper from publishing any details from a proposed report.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (Ibac) was granted an interim injunction order against the Nine group publication during a supreme court hearing on late Wednesday.

Justice Gregory Garde granted the interim orders, stopping the Age publishing “any information that may have been derived from a proposed report” by Ibac until 4pm on Thursday, according to court documents.

The matter returned to the court in Melbourne on Thursday.

Ibac was seeking an injunction as publication of the information “would constitute a breach of confidence”, the court heard.

The watchdog’s barrister, Emrys Nekvapil SC, asked for the court to be closed to allow for arguments to be heard about why information in the report cannot be published. He said he feared information may be disclosed which could not be put back in the box and would undermine the proceedings if the matter continued in open court.

“An order [is] necessary to prevent a real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice in circumstances where there’s a real risk otherwise,” Nekvapil told the court. Further, Ibac is seeking for court documents to be suppressed.

The court heard Ibac was yet to send a copy of their six-page affidavit to the Age’s legal team or Garde. The Age’s lawyer, Justin Quill, said he did not oppose the court being closed to allow both parties to argue their case freely, but said he would argue forcefully against Ibac’s injunction orders.

“We say they should not be made and we say that with as much force as we can muster,” Quill told the court.

He asked for the Age’s acting editor, Michael Bachelard, and Nine’s lawyers to be allowed to be present in the closed court.

Garde closed the court to public and the media on Thursday afternoon.

Under the Ibac Act, anyone who receives a proposed, draft, advanced copy, or part of a report is prohibited from disclosing or publishing the information. It is punishable by up to 12 months in prison, a fine of more than $20,000, or both.



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