Freya Newman has avoided a criminal record and a potential 2 year jail sentence for leaking the details of Frances Abbott’s Whitehouse Institute of design scholarship.
Ms Newman gave the details of the questionable scholarship to New Matilda in May of this year while she was working at the institute as a library assistant. It showed that Frances Abbott was only the second recipient of $60,000 Managing Director’s Scholarship.
It is claimed that she was encouraged to use the staff login of another worker to access the information on the private database.
Ms Newman will serve a two year good behavior bond and will not receive a criminal record.
The 21 year old pleaded guilty to accessing restricted data in September, at the earliest possible point. She also wrote a letter of apology to Francis Abbott who notoriously likened Ms Newman’s actions to “a child looking in someone’s diary”.
Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan told the court that because Newman had been “motivated by sense of injustice rather than personal notoriety, greed, or embarrassment of the [Abbott],” that her crime was on the lower end of the spectrum.
The Whitehouse institute of design has always maintained that the scholarship was awarded to Ms Abbott on merit, but evidence that the Managing Director was lobbying Tony Abbott for increased funding three days before the scholarship was awarded have cast doubt on this.
The only other time the scholarship has been awarded was to the daughter of the Managing Director.