Walkley-nominated Australian journalists Robert Wainwright and Paola Totaro “knew or ought to have known” that when Martin Bryant’s mother, Carleen Bryant, asked for her unpublished memoirs to be returned following the termination of a ghost-writing arrangement, “she was expecting them not to proceed to use her manuscript for their book”. That is according to a confidential investigation by the journalism union’s ethics committee, as reported in a new book that closely examines the controversial case.
In June 2007, Wainwright, and then Totaro, met with Bryant about ghost-writing her memoirs. Byrant had already written a draft and provided it to the journalists to draw on. But after she received their first reworked chapter she terminated the arrangement and demanded the return of her memoir. But her memoir draft went into a best-selling book released by Wainwright and Totaro in 2009, Born Or Bred?: Martin Bryant — The Making of a Mass Murderer.