News State Victoria News ABC series faces ban over police bombing

ABC series faces ban over police bombing

An ABC drama series featuring the 1986 Russell Street bombing could be banned in Victoria while convicted bomber Craig Minogue challenges new charges. Photo: AAP
Share
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

An Underbelly-style injunction banning the airing of an ABC series featuring the Russell Street bombing could be on the cards as convicted bomber Craig Minogue faces fresh charges.

Minogue, who was convicted and is serving a life sentence over the 1986 police headquarters bombing that killed Constable Angela Taylor, is facing 38 charges over alleged gang rape attacks on two women in the 1980s.

Peter Michael Komiazyk, who was acquitted over the bombing, is facing the same charges, including abduction by force and aggravated rape over alleged attacks on the women, aged 18 and 19, in November 1985 and March 1986.

Their case was back in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday, a day after an explosion was set off in the Melbourne CBD as part of production on the show.

Minogue’s barrister Bruce Walmsley flagged a possible application for a court order banning the showing of the series.

He said on Thursday morning he may seek the same style of order handed down by Justice Betty King in 2008, which temporarily banned the Underbelly series in Victoria while the trial for a murder depicted in the series was run.

The ABC series in production, called The Newsreader, is a six-part drama series set in a commercial television newsroom in 1986. It’s due to air this year.

Magistrate Carolyn Burnside acknowledged that the Russell Street show could have the potential to taint the minds of the public, including some who might end up on a jury.

“ABC production might touch upon, if not completely focus on, offending I am in the middle of now dealing with,” she said.

She said a trial for Minogue and Komiazyk might be two or three years away, but Mr Walmsley said it could occur within a year and the new show might be “potentially grossly prejudicial”.

Retired Victoria Police detective Gordon Davie, who investigated the Russell Street bombing, gave evidence on Thursday about an earlier ABC series that he was an adviser on after leaving the force.

That series, called Phoenix, was based on a bomb going off and killing a police woman, and the subsequent investigation of a group of people involved in the bombing.

The court heard another central plot was an allegation by a woman that she had been picked up on the streets, abducted and raped, and that the investigation involved the bombing perpetrators.

Mr Davie said he gave technical advice about what he’d learned during the Russell Street investigation.

He said while he believed a central character in the series was based on Minogue, the show runners “didn’t worry too much about the facts”.

Meanwhile, Komiazyk was blasted by magistrate Carolyn Burnside during the hearing over a t-shirt displayed on a wall behind him.

The shirt read “I believe there is a conspiracy to murder me”. He later flashed another message saying “Innocent man, police setup”.

Ms Burnside said flaunting the shirt showed a “complete lack of judgment and respect for the proceedings”.

-AAP