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Nov 18, 2005

60 Minutes and interviews with criminal profiteers

The Herald Sun reports today that 60 Minutes is going to pay $40,000 for the story of Karen Ellis, the Melbourne teacher jailed for having sex with a male student at the

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The Herald Sun reports today that 60 Minutes
is going to pay $40,000 for the story of Karen Ellis, the Melbourne
teacher jailed for having sex with a male student at the school where
she taught. The story says:

Sex crimes schoolteacher Karen Ellis and her teenage victim
will appear on national television after a $40,000 deal with the Nine
Network.

Ellis, 38, and former pupil Benjamin Dunbar, 17, have
been interviewed together for 60 Minutes in a move that has angered
anti-child abuse campaigners.

Industry sources have told the Herald Sun that $40,000 changed hands with 60 Minutes to secure the interview.

It
is believed A Current Affair, a Nine stablemate of 60 Minutes, bowed
out of the running for the interview because it did not want to pay the
convicted sex offender.

The managing editor of 60 Minutes
is Mark Llewellyn, who was yesterday named as Nine’s new News and
Current Affairs Director. Nine CEO Sam Chisholm said Llewellyn would
bring much-needed “vigour and creativity” to the network’s news and
current affairs programs.

Now here are a couple of questions for the new guy: Who authorised 60 Minutes
to pay the money to a person convicted of sex with a student? What does
he think of it? Is it acceptable that the Nine Network and 60 Minutes panders to the voyeuristic streak among some of its executives and some of its viewers?

After all, it seems stablemate A Current Affair had some standards and wouldn’t bid for the Ellis interview. Why did 60 Minutes
continue when the management of Nine knows that viewers do not like
this, especially where those being interviewed have been convicted of
sex offences? Is this a new Nine Network standard: cheque-book
journalism is back at Nine and will be given full encouragement?

Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph reports that model Michelle Leslie may not be able to sell her story:

A spokesman for Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison
today (Thursday) refused to comment on Ms Leslie’s case before the
Denpasar District Court.

But he confirmed that if convicted, the
24-year-old Adelaide woman could be restrained by an Australian law
barring criminals from making money on the back of their crimes where
ever they are committed.

The 2002 Proceeds of Crime laws
allows public prosecutors to confiscate money “derived from the
commercial exploitation of a person’s notoriety as a result of having
committed a foreign indictable offence,” the spokesman told AAP.

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