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Apr 29, 2005

The internet and Mick Gatto's trial

The jury in the trial of alleged gangland murderer Mick Gatto is today inspecting the Carlton restaurant where alleged hitman and Carl Williams's bodyguard Andrew "Benji" Veniamin wa


The jury in the trial of alleged
gangland murderer Mick Gatto is today inspecting the Carlton restaurant
where alleged hitman and Carl Williams’s bodyguard Andrew “Benji”
Veniamin was shot dead. The media has been put in a straightjacket by
the courts, with orders that all reporting of the Gatto trial be
confined to the straightest of the straight.

For instance, the
media is not allowed to make a reference to any associations or groups
that Gatto has previously been publicly connected with. But it goes
further. Yesterday we received an email from the prosecution which in
part read:

The Supreme Court murder trial of Dominic Gatto has today
commenced in the Melbourne Supreme Court before Justice Cummins. The
judge is concerned about the extensive material which the internet
reveals about Mr Gatto, and has asked the prosecution to contact as
many websites and news organisations as possible to request that all
material in relation to Mr Gatto be removed from their websites for at
least two months from now. Your cooperation is therefore requested by
Justice Cummins.

A blanket ban to remove all references, regardless of how bland, is a
pretty ambitious call by Justice Cummins, but we’ve obliged and this
morning taken down every story in which the Carlton identity is
mentioned. That doesn’t leave much on the site from our legendary Kooka
Bros, but Crikey always likes to abide by court requests. We’ve
certainly acted more quickly than others as a Google search still
produces plenty on Gatto, including a detailed feature in The Age all the way back in March 2004.

publication of Adam Shand’s proposed book on the gangland wars has also
been put back by at least three months by the Gatto trial, which was
brought forward from later in the year. Shand was hoping to be
launching it around now, but the lawyers and publishers have decided
that the approach taken by Justice Cummins in the Gatto trial makes it
impossible to launch it before the jury reaches a decision.

least one of the Williams trials will also need to be finished before a
window of opportunity opens up, but even then publication won’t be easy
given the tough line the Victorian courts are taking and the piles of
suppression orders that remain in place.


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