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'Fought tooth and nail to conceal': Vic knew curfew could be illegal, court told

'Fought tooth and nail to conceal': Vic knew curfew could be illegal, court told

Bombshell legal advice reveals the Victorian Government was warned by its own lawyers about imposing a curfew, a court has heard.

Then-deputy public health commander Michelle Giles is being sued by Liberal Party member and cafe owner Michelle Loielo over extending Victoria’s curfew from September 14.

Ms Loielo’s lawyer Vanessa Plain told the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday “the state fought tooth and nail to conceal” legal advice showing the Government knew the curfew could be illegal.

The email was from Department of Health and Human Services director of legal services Sean Morrison, she said.

The court heard the advice was, “The department’s view is that these directions are, on balance, likely to be compatible with human rights under the charter.

“However, we note that this assessment is not without doubt.

“In particular there is some risk with compatibility with respect to the evening curfew.”

The charter referred to is the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

Ms Loielo’s legal team is arguing the curfew is in breach of Victorians’ human rights and will argue that Prof Giles was acting “irrationally” when she signed off on the curfew order.

They argue Victorians were subject to “arbitrary detention” by being ordered inside their homes from 8pm to 5am each night, loosened to 9pm to 5am on September 14.

The bombshell legal advice was revealed in a pre-trial directions hearing for the case before the trial begins Monday.

Ms Giles is expected to be cross-examined on Monday.