Court case may impact on The Newsreader

Upcoming ABC drama The Newsreader could face an Underbelly-style court injunction due to scenes set against the backdrop of the 1986 Russell St bombing.

Due later this year, the series is set in a fictional 1980s TV newsroom with storylines that refer to real world incidents.

The Age reports two men who faced trial over the March 1986 bombing that killed policewoman Angela Taylor and injured 22 others are currently charged with unrelated serious criminal charges, and if committed to trial, could face a jury within the next three years.

Barrister Bruce Walmsley, QC, who represents the convicted bomber, raised the possibility of seeking an injunction that would prevent the ABC broadcasting The Newsreader until after a trial.

Magistrate Carolyn Burnside agreed a program featuring the recreation of the bombing could potentially taint the minds of jurors hearing a case against two of the men involved.

The backlog of trials means there could be a delay of up to three years if the current case goes before a jury.

Seven network also has a series awaiting legal cases to resolve, with Australian Gangster originally due to air in 2019.

Updated: An ABC spokesperson said, “Upcoming ABC TV drama The Newsreader  is a relationship drama about people working within a fictional commercial television newsroom in 1986 and features multiple major news events they report on in that year, including the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, the passage of Halley’s Comet, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the Russell Street bombing in Melbourne. The Russell Street bombing on 27 March 1986 is the backdrop to part of one episode of the six-part series and deals with the immediate aftermath on that day only. The program does not name nor refer to anyone who was involved in subsequent police charges or court proceedings.”

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