Face of Jill Meagher's alleged killer revealed

MARK RUSSELL
Last updated 08:09 12/10/2012
Adrian Bayley
ACCUSED: Adrian Bayley.
Jill Meagher
JILL MEAGHER: Went missing when walking home from drinks with workmates in Melbourne.

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This is Adrian Ernest Bayley - the man accused of raping and murdering Jill Meagher.

A court ruling yesterday allowed for the first time the publication of the face of the man who allegedly abducted Meagher from Sydney Road in Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Felicity Broughton yesterday ruled there was no need to ban publication of Bayley's image because identity did not appear to be an issue in the case.

Broughton said in such circumstances she did not believe the publication of photographs of Bayley would prejudice the administration of justice. She did, however, order any damaging material about Bayley be removed from the internet.

Broughton said she disagreed with the view the internet was an unregulated and anarchic environment that meant any ban would be futile. Most websites such as Facebook had sophisticated organisational structures that could be held accountable, she said.

The magistrate handed down her decision at 2.15pm yesterday after Victoria Legal Aid lawyers acting for Bayley had applied for suppression orders preventing the publication of any prejudicial material and images, photographs or likenesses of him.

Defence lawyer Helen Spowart tendered to the court a vast amount of internet-sourced material which she said was designed to express or incite hatred towards Bayley. The material had appeared on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

A bearded Bayley appeared via videolink from the Melbourne Assessment Prison to hear Broughton's decision yesterday.

He sat behind a table with his head bowed and his hands clasped in front of him for most of the 35-minute hearing. Wearing a grey jumper, Bayley would occasionally stare at the monitor showing courtroom 4 and scratch his beard.

He spoke only once during the hearing, when the magistrate asked him if he could hear and see her and he replied, "Yes."

Broughton said there had been an extraordinary level of media and public interest in the case.

Mainstream media had so far been responsible in its reporting and the thrust of the suppression application was directed at non-mainstream material online, she said.

The prohibition order will remain until January 18 when Bayley is next due to appear in court for a committal mention.

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Spowart had told the court earlier that the material fuelling the vilification of Bayley could irreparably damage his chances for a fair trial.

Bayley had been labelled in "subhuman terms" and the continued publication of the material could contaminate the views of potential jurors, she said. A number of websites had refused to remove the damaging material despite requests from Victoria Police.

Spowart said the suppression order was needed to send a message to those responsible that continued defiance would result in criminal sanctions and would not be tolerated.

When Bayley first appeared in court on September 28, Meagher's distraught husband, Tom, pleaded with people on social media to stop posting comments about Bayley for fear of interfering with the court case.

Meagher, 29, who moved with her husband from Ireland to Melbourne three years ago, was allegedly abducted while walking home alone from a bar in Sydney Road early on Saturday, September 22.

- The Age

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