Gina Rinehart is taking urgent legal action in the NSW Supreme Court today to force Nine to hand over a copy of part two of House of Hancock, due to air on Sunday night.
The action follows an interview on A Current Affair on Wednesday night in which CJZ producer Michael Cordell said some of the two-part series was made up.
“We are making a drama, we are not making a documentary,” he said, “and parts of it we didn’t even have to make up”.
Mrs Rinehart, a Network TEN shareholder, also took exception to her family’s story being compared to Dynasty and Dallas.
Barrister, Tom Blackburn, SC, asked the court to grant an application for urgent preliminary discovery against Nine Entertainment Co. to see if there were grounds to seek an urgent injunction which would prevent it airing.
He said the application was based primarily on malicious falsehood and defamation.
In addition, it could be argued that professional paid actors portraying real-life people could be breaching Australian consumer law if tan actor could be “engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct” under section 18 of the Trade Practices Act.
Mr Blackburn agreed, although he said there were no authorities.
“It’s a novel proposal,” Justice Garling said, adding that, if such an argument applied to “all the Kings of England … it would shut down all of Shakespeare’s plays”.
The Australian suggests the series concludes with a possibly inflammatory precis of recent court action by Gina Rinehart’s children against her, with actors reciting statements from the siblings.
Nine kept its copies of House of Hancock close to its chest ahead of screening, insisting journalists attend Nine premises in person to preview the episodes, rather than distribute copies.
A preview copy of part two had also been requested by Mrs. Rineharts’s lawyers but not provided.
The Nine network’s legal team is yet to make its argument but a decision is anticipated this afternoon.
TV Tonight understands the drama was extensively researched over 2 years, but as Drama some time frames have been condensed, dialogue created and scenes imagined in the story telling.
The hearing continues.
UPDATE: A judge has ordered Nine to give a copy of the next episode to Gina Rinehart and her lawyers. They have until 9:15pm Friday if they seek an injunction with a hearing to take place at noon on Saturday.