Lawyers for Gina Rinehart are attempting to force Channel Nine to hand over a copy of part two of drama House of Hancock ahead of its airing on Sunday.
Mrs Rinehart’s barrister, Tom Blackburn, SC told the NSW Supreme Court on Friday that the programme could be malicious and defamatory.
An application for urgent preliminary discovery was requested in order to view the concluding episode of the drama so it could be discerned if there are grounds for an urgent injunction to prevent the show going to air as scheduled, reported the ABC.
Part one of House of Hancock was aired last Sunday. It focussed on Rinehart’s father, the late mining magnate Lang Hancock (played by Sam Neill) and his romance with Rose Porteous (played by Peta Sergeant). In the drama, Hancock’s relationship with Rose proves fractious with his daughter Gina (played by Mandy McElhinney) who is concerned about her inheritance.
In a statement released on Monday, the executive director of Rinehart’s company Hancock Prospecting, Tad Watroba, said: “Channel Nine has seemingly gone out of its way to cause undue damage and upset to those currently living and the memory of those no longer with us.”
“Despite repeatedly bringing it to Nine CEO David Gyngell’s attention, many scenes broadcast last night were fictitious, unfounded or grossly distorted, and some simply never occurred,” Watroba protested.
Watroba said Rinehart took exception to many scenes, specifically ones in which Lang Hancock demeaned Rinehart’s appearance and her relationships with her family.
“Mr Hancock never told Mrs Rinehart that no one could ever love her, or that her husband never loved her. The scene was made up and untrue. Her relationship with [Mrs Rinehart’s late husband] Mr Frank Rinehart was very loving, and her mother loved her son in law also.
“Nor was there a scene where Mr Hancock said terrible things about his daughter’s appearance.”
Rinehart’s lawyer told the court that the many alleged inaccuracies in the first episode and the fact that the show’s makers admitted it was “made up” gave cause for concern that the concluding instalment may be defamatory.
Blackburn cited an interview aired this week on Channel Nine’s A Current Affair to promote part two of the series. In the segment, one of the producers of House of Hancock, Michael Cordell, said parts of the show were made up and compared it to the 80s US television series Dynasty.
“We are making a drama, we are not making a documentary,” Mr Cordell told ACA presenter Tracy Grimshaw. For her part, Grimshaw described the series as depicting a “war of words”.
“It is apparent Channel Nine knows some of it is made up,” Mr Blackburn told the court.
The hearing continues.