Nine staff questioned over Underbelly leaks

Nine Network bosses in Melbourne want to know how 13 episodes of Underbelly got into the hands of some of the underworld players portrayed in the series and the general public.

Staff have been questioned over bootleg copies being circulated, which potentially could lead to contempt of court proceedings.

A spokeswoman for the station said two people had been questioned and denied making any copies available.

She said only those involved in programming or selling the series were entitled to view episodes in a “controlled environment” and the network was not fearful of contempt charges.

“No (we’re not fearful), but whoever is operating a black market should be. Nine continues to abide by the court order,” she said.

Roberta Williams, the former wife of gangland kingpin Carl Williams, said she received nine episodes of the series complete with promotional labels before it was aired interstate.

Ms Williams said she believed the copy she received was not a pirated version and would not on-sell it.

“I don’t want anyone to see Underbelly. I wouldn’t be selling it off,” she said.

“But people are saying to me they’ve got copies. It seems like everyone has them.”

She said she had tried to get a copy from Mick Gatto, who was acquitted of shooting Andrew “Benji” Veniamin in 2004, before she was offered copies from a friend.

Another source within the legal fraternity said the DVDs were “flying around like frisbies” after being offered pirated copies.

An OPP spokeswoman said if it received credible information that breaches of the order were occuring, it would refer it to police for investigation.

Justice Betty King revised the order in which all Victorians – not only Channel 9 – are prohibited from transmitting or exhibiting Underbelly until after an approaching murder trial.

Source: Daily Telegraph


  1. I actually would have thought the court-ordered dubbing would have been done in Melbourne, for two reasons: first, the last-minute court order for the episodes was issued in Melbourne on a Friday for delivery on a Monday. And second, as far as I’m aware the show is being post-produced in Melbourne, which is where the most up-to-date copies of the later episodes would be located.

    Leaks of this nature have happened for years in both the music and film industries and the source is so often traceable to the weakest link in the chain – the workaday people doing the seemingly mundane task of generating copies for those authorised to have them. In the DVD age it’s pretty trivial to “accidentally” burn one too many copies… đŸ™‚

  2. I suspect she was speaking from a Melb point of view, and the dubbing for legals may have emanated from Sydney.

    It certainly seems odd that 13 eps had to be sent for a court to preview and now 13 eps are available on the black market.

  3. “She said only those involved in programming or selling the series were entitled to view episodes in a ‘controlled environment’…”

    How about the people working in whichever department had to transfer all 13 episodes to DVD for viewing by the lawyers and judge in the court hearing that resulted in the ban?

    Somebody had to have access to the tapes to encode, author and burn the discs. Seems like the most likely point of a leak to me; I doubt the lawyers in possession of copies would have burned them for any third party, as they know the grave nature of such an offence.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.