NSW barrister in trouble over social media

Two social media posts have forced Sydney criminal barrister Charles Waterstreet to withdraw from a high-profile murder trial in NSW.


And he may now be facing charges of his own.

Justice Geoffrey Bellew on Friday told the Supreme Court that Mr Waterstreet, who was representing accused murderer Glen McNamara, had withdrawn from the case due to a post on Instagram and Twitter.

He said the murder trial of Roger Rogerson and McNamara would also no longer go ahead this year, “at considerable public expense”.

Mr Waterstreet sparked concerns this week after a photograph featuring him and an unknown person was taken outside the Supreme Court and then posted on Instagram with a caption.

Both the image and text were then repeated via Twitter.

To re-publish what was in the posts would “prejudice the rights of one of the accused to a fair trial”, Justice Bellew noted.

Mr Waterstreet, who denies being behind the posts, withdrew from the case earlier this week after seeking legal advice.

With McNamara now without counsel, Justice Bellew said it was impossible for the trial to go ahead as expected next week.

As to Mr Waterstreet, Justice Bellew referred the matter to a Supreme Court registrar who will take advice as to whether proceedings of contempt should be taken.

Rogerson and McNamara have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Jamie Gao who was allegedly shot in a Padstow storage shed on May 20 last year.

The murder trial involving the pair was abruptly cut short last month after Mr Waterstreet concluded his opening address to the jury.

Former NSW attorney-general Greg Smith SC appeared on Friday on behalf of McNamara as a prospective counsel.