Peter Mitchell apologises to court after “off script” comments

Seven News presenter Peter Mitchell has apologised to the Victorian Supreme Court after going “off script” in a 25 second report about a murder trial last Wednesday.

Fairfax reports he gave a sincere apology, joined in court by news director Simon Pristel and Seven Melbourne managing director Lewis Martin.

Last Wednesday the court directed media to act responsibly in its reportage of the case. Hours later Mitchell inserted some words into the report he was to read as part of a review he did to all scripts. Those words are currently unpublishable.

Will Houghton, QC, appearing for Seven and Mitchell, said the words used were ‘‘not part of the script’’ and not meant to be used, offering a “sincere and genuine apology.”

Justice Lasry accepted the apology as genuine, but said it should have been ‘‘bleeding obvious’’ to an experienced journalist not to go off script.

‘‘This is thumbing one’s nose at the court, isn’t it?’’ Justice Lasry said at one stage.

“The action is not in contempt of the court, but it almost is. The very thing we talked about not happening is exactly what occurred,” he said.

“He recognises your honour that he shouldn’t have used those words. That was regrettable and unfortunate and we have apologised for that,” Houghton QC said.

Justice Lex Lasry will review the matter and the footage. Seven requested the case not be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Source: Fairfax, Nine News.

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