Stephen Rice hires lawyer in Nine drama

Nine’s 60 Minutes drama looks set to drag on with producer Stephen Rice hiring lawyer John Laxon to represent him.

Laxon previously acted for former Nine News chief Mark Llewellyn over the infamous Jessica Rowe “bone” affair and former reporter Christine Spiteri.

The decision to sack Rice was made by CEO Hugh Marks despite the internal review noting:

The review panel does not recommend that any staff member should be singled out for dismissal given the degree of autonomy accorded to 60 Minutes.

The Daily Telegraph reports Rice believed nobody would be sacked and did not have legal representation at the review.

This week Marks did not comment on a financial settlement, but the article suggests Rice has not signed off on an offer and the move has damaged his reputation.

On Sunday the current affairs show finally said sorry to its audience.

“Two months ago we set out on a story in Lebanon which ended up with our 60 Minutes crew and others being jailed in Beirut. Ever since, we’ve been asking ourselves how things could have gone so wrong, and tonight we face up to the errors we made. We sincerely apologise for our serious mistakes,” said Michael Usher.

“Multiple and serious mistakes were made in the planning and execution of the story. The fact is there is a lot to learn for us in this experience at 60 Minutes and for the entire network.”

Founder Gerald Stone described the incident as the “greatest misadventure” in the show’s 37 year history.


  1. As reported in today’s Fairfax papers “To see how far everyone in this saga has fallen, let’s compare the botched Beirut kidnapping to an earlier 60 Minutes case.You couldn’t make this up. Barely three years ago, Tara Brown stared down the barrel of the camera – then slammed those who “knowingly aided and abetted an international kidnap”. Oh, the irony. Between 2012 and 2015, Brown presented three reports on a bitter custody dispute between an Italian husband and his Australian ex-wife. In her view, the Australian woman had committed “nothing less than an international child abduction”. This raises the question: which Tara Brown will viewers see now? The one who condemns international child kidnappers? Or the one who suggests authorities are unreasonable to abort foreigners’ harebrained abduction schemes?”.

  2. Secret Squïrrel

    Media Watch had a good summary of the review and apology last night, and also linked it with the apology for an apology given on The Footy Show. I also fail to see how Malone has kept his job, not even a demotion.

  3. thedirtydigger

    And Channel Nine truly expected this was never going to happen ? Really ? Who is advising Mr Marks here – who has unfortunately inherited a particularly large shit sandwich not of his making? Now the whole messy smelly weeping wound of culpability and chain of command ( or lack of ) will be exposed to the public over a long time frame in court …just about the last thing any media corporation wants. The people really responsible for this ticking time bomb should man up and resign. Oops, there goes another pig past my window…

  4. Don’t blame him. Although Rice would have made the decisions on the ground, Tom Malone is the real culprit for giving the story the go ahead. His head should role, but as he is probably ” one of the boys” he gets saved.

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