Serial Killer Dupas Fails to Have TV Episodes Banned

Mersina Halvagis

Serial killer Peter Dupas has failed to get a court to ban two episodes of a television drama that depicts him confessing to a murder.
Dupas claimed the episodes of Seven Network drama Killing Time would prejudice his right to a fair trial if he wins an appeal currently before the courts.

Two years ago, Dupas, 59, was jailed for life with no parole for the stabbing murder of Greek Mersina Halvagis near her grandmother’s grave at a Melbourne cemetery in 1997.
His barrister John Desmond told the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday the graphic portrayal of a confession and re-enactment by Dupas would have a lasting impact in the minds of potential jurors.

But Justice Emilios Kyrou refused to grant an order banning the episodes from being shown, saying the matters portrayed in the episodes were already in the public domain.

He said the series had already aired on Foxtel and was available on the internet.
Justice Kyrou said Dupas’s murder conviction remained in place until an appeal was granted and any concerns about prejudice were not current ones.

He said if Dupas was granted a retrial it would be unlikely to take place until well into 2013.
Justice Kyrou said it was also his experience that jurors understood and complied with directions to base their judgments on the evidence before them.

Dupas made a jailhouse confession to murdering Ms Halvagis to former lawyer and fellow inmate Andrew Fraser.
Killing Time is based on the life of Mr Fraser, who was jailed for a drug offence.
Mr Desmond said the confession was portrayed in episodes nine and 10 of the series which are to air in December.

He said the scales of justice must fall in favour of Dupas’s right to a fair trial.
“Why does the public have a need to be so entertained at this particular point in time,” Mr Desmond said.

But Ron Merkel QC for Channel Seven Melbourne told the court the application was hypothetical and must fail because there was not yet a trial pending.
An appeal of the murder conviction was heard earlier this year, but a decision on a possible retrial has not yet been announced by the Court of Appeal.
Dupas is also serving two life terms for murdering Nicole Patterson and Margaret Maher.
(source: AAP)