The peripatetic nature of the Kooka Brothers’ frequent ventures to the dark side of human nature means we constantly encounter villains and denizens of the underworld who may – or may not – be the subject of a TV program which didn’t air on Wednesday night in Victoria.

As unsavoury as most of these characters are, we much prefer their company to drinking with their partners in crime – the coppers and the lawyers – who mirror image the dark side in language, dress and manners so completely that it’s difficult to tell them apart. But what we really detest is standing before “the finger of authority” that points from the judicial bench to us in our Sunday suits and having to explain our nefarious activities which some could construe as “contempt of court”.

We are therefore somewhat circumspect in relating this parable about an unnamed TV program which may – or may not – have gone to air in Australia this week. Because fear drives our typewriting fingers, gentle reader, there will be no names and no pack drill – just join the dots if you want to know what all the fuss is about.

We shall begin our parable with this yarn by John Silvester in The Age on 23 June last year. The arrested man, who can not now be named, was charged with the murder of a lowlife called Victor George Pierce at Bay Street, Port Melbourne, on 1 May, 2002. He will face a committal hearing set for next month. This man is indeed entitled to the presumption of innocence until his case has been heard.

While the man in question is not identified in the television dramatisation, we are told that even Blind Freddy could clearly identify the actor playing Andrew “Benji” Veniamin as the trigger man at the incident in the TV thingy. Neither Pierce nor Veniamin are expected to be called to give evidence for the committal hearing as both gentlemen now sleep with the fishes.

By now the Kooka Brothers began masticating their cud and juices at the possibility that this and other pending legal matters (charges relating to Mario Condello’s murder and “Fat” Tony Mokbel’s imminent return from holidays in Greece in particular) could seriously curtail the script development of a certain TV program. We subsequently burst into print in Crikey on 9 January with our take on the brewing brouhaha.

However, the plot thickened when this yarn by Steve Butcher appeared in The Age on 31 January. Then last week, the Kookas popped into Readings bookshop in Lygon Street to find a new book by two blokes we know called John Silvester and Andrew Rule. It had a picture of Vince Colosimo playing Alphonse Gangitano on the cover and purports to be “the book behind the hard-hitting TV drama”.

We don’t know anything about that but we do know the authors talk a lot about who they think killed Victor Pierce and why from page 28 in the first chapter: and then again in the 12th chapter beginning on page 165. It is an interesting book for Victorians who wish to bone-up on the detail before being called for jury duty.

It is also an interesting book for television viewers in other states seeking a context for the Melbourne gangland wars that delineates fact from fiction.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey