Australia

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The legal challenge filed against the Andrews government’s curfew kicked off again this morning with lawyers facing off over evidence that will be presented in court and an application to have the case heard as quickly as possible.

With the curfew restrictions due to expire on October 11, Supreme Court judge Tim Ginnane said last week that the case is expected to canvass "very important" human rights issues and the manner in which executive government works.

Restaurant owner Michelle Loielo, a member of the Liberal Party, filed the Supreme Court writ last Tuesday.

Restaurant owner Michelle Loielo with Liberal MP Edward O'Donohue.

Restaurant owner Michelle Loielo with Liberal MP Edward O'Donohue.

Associate Professor Michelle Giles was named as the defendant in her capacity as Deputy Public Health Commander and is likely to take the stand when the matter goes to trial to defend the decision to extend the curfew.

The case has garnered significant political and legal attention because it is inviting the court to determine the scope, and functioning, of the Victorian government’s executive authority and power.

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Lawyers for Ms Loielo want the case sent immediately to the Court of Appeal because it could, if successful, render the curfew invalid.

Barrister for Ms Loielo, Dr Jason Harkess, said the case is grounded in the central question of “what was going on in the mind of the defendant” Associate Professor Michelle Giles.

They argue that the decision was irrational, unreasonable and disproportionate.

The issue turned on “what was [Ms Giles] thinking about, what ought she be thinking about, when she made that decision,” Dr Harkess said.

Barrister for the Victorian government Emrys Kevapil, questioned the relevance of news articles included in the brief of evidence by Ms Loeilo’s lawyers, including an article titled ‘A Doctors’ Open
Letter to Daniel Andrews’ published by Quadrant Online.

The case continues.

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