Network 10 is facing a defamation case following a report on The Project.
The story centred on the death of Melbourne man Jack Chapman who had a fetish relationship with US man Dylan Hafertepen.
Chapman died of multiple respiratory issues and a condition related to injected silicone in Seattle in October 2018.
A November 2018 report on The Project featured Hafertepen being invited to the home of Chapman’s mother, where she blamed him for the death of her son.
A follow-up story indicated the death certificate has been updated from natural causes to accident.
News.com.au reports a statement of claim filed with the Federal Court, Hafertepen says 10’s “over-sensationalised” report defamed him, including tricking him into giving an interview, and using covert cameras.
“It’s a very serious allegation – causing the death of his partner in order to inherit his money,” Hafertepen’s barrister, Sue Chrysanthou, told the court yesterday.
“This broadcast, it will be the applicant’s case, was republished worldwide and caused him to lose a senior position working for Google.”
“This is a very serious case, with very serious imputations,” 10’s barrister Lyndelle Barnett said.
“Any truth defence will be very detailed.”
Key stories on The Project are signed off by network lawyers daily prior to broadcast.
The case is scheduled to return to court on February 11.