On August 26th, a member of Hands Like Houses and a woman, who TIO will not be naming, virtually attended a hearing in Canberra to have his two-year Family Violence Order against her extended.
That order made by the Hands Like Houses member against the woman has been listed for a final hearing on November 11th.
Shortly after the hearing last month, the aforementioned woman uploaded a video to Instagram. She urged fans of Hands Like Houses to stop their support of the group and hinted at an instance of sexual assault.
The response to the allegation was fast. The comments across social media presented a rollercoaster of emotions:
“What is the specific allegation?”
“The fuck happened?”
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“What is this all about?”
“Who wants to play some frisbee with my HLH vinyl, only rule is they have to be snapped by the end.”
The Instagram video has since been deleted, but comment sections on social media platforms have filled up with messages of anger, shock and confusion.
One of the most repeated comments was: ‘Why hasn’t Hands Like Houses responded to the allegation?’
Having obtained a court document relating to the extension of the Family Violence Order TIO understands the dispute is multi-faceted. We consulted two separate lawyers to help shed some light on why the band, who has been openly communicating with fans since their inception in 2008, has stayed silent.
TIO understands that any parties involved in pending criminal proceedings (a Family Violence Order is a criminal proceeding), are prohibited from making a substantive public comment and from publicly identifying the parties of the proceeding. Essentially, the courts are keen on preventing a trial by media and due to the risk involved in criminal cases, any public statements could be deemed in contempt of court.
These situations, in ‘lawyer speak’, are called sub judice. This means they are under judicial consideration and therefore prohibited from public discussion elsewhere.
“The sub judice rule applies to all court cases, especially criminal proceedings,” says Michael Bradley, Managing Partner at Marque Lawyers. “It’s a form of contempt of court, and in general prohibits publication of material which has a tendency to interfere with the administration of justice, particularly by encouraging trial by media.
“Although it’s mainly targeted at not tainting potential jurors, it can also apply where witnesses or potential witnesses might be intimidated or pressured by the reporting,” Bradley continues. “So it would be inappropriate, and could breach the rule, to engage in reporting which discusses or editorialises the detail of the case. It’s dangerous territory.”
TIO understands that this member of Hands Like Houses first made an application for a Family Violence Order in 2019, which was granted, and that those orders were extended in 2020, and again on August 26th.
According to another lawyer TIO spoke to, the now-removed video posted to Instagram could be classified as a form of family violence, known as psychological abuse.
TIO also understands that while the band and the woman in question are prohibited from speaking publicly about the accusation at this time, the accused band member has encouraged her to report the alleged incident to the police.
Hands Like Houses have informed TIO that they will be voluntarily withdrawing from all upcoming live performances and engagements, including Full Tilt Festival in late November.
“The Band is stepping back from all live performance for a few months to address an internal issue,” read the statement issued to TIO.