Entertainment TV Channel Seven in court after on-air blunder

Channel Seven in court after on-air blunder

Peter Mitchell
Peter Mitchell apologised to the Supreme Court of Victoria after an on-air blunder about an upcoming murder trial. Photo: AAP
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Seven Network newsreader Peter Mitchell could face a contempt-of-court charge after making a mistake on air while referring to an upcoming murder trial.

Peter Dupas, 64, is charged with the historical murder of an elderly woman two decades ago in her Brunswick nursing home, and is due to face trial on January 30.

In the Supreme Court of Victoria on Tuesday, Seven’s lawyer Will Houghton QC made a “sincere and genuine apology” for the mistake, the content of which cannot be reported for legal reasons.

He asked Justice Lex Lasry not to refer the station and the newsreader to the Department of Public Prosecutions for contempt of court.

Mr Mitchell, along with Seven’s director of news and managing director, were all present in court on Tuesday.

Peter Dupas
Peter Dupas was charged over the stabbing death of 95-year-old Kathleen Downes.

Mr Houghton said the words Mr Mitchell used were not part of the script and were not meant to be used.

But Justice Lasry said it was “bleeding obvious” the words should not have gone to air.

He said he’d previously made it clear what could be reported by media outlets and Mr Mitchell’s comments were “thumbing one’s nose” at the court.

“We’ve expressed contrition and remorse,” Mr Houghton said.

“We’ve submitted the matter should go no further.”

Dupas’ defence barrister John Desmond said the comments were “highly reckless in the extreme”.