Ex-policewoman loses bid to see Underbelly portrayal before it’s aired

A former Sydney police officer has lost her legal bid to view the latest series of Underbelly before it goes to air, despite claims the show defames her.

Wendy Gaye Hatfield is mentioned in a tie-in book accompanying the Nine Network show, entitled Underbelly: The Golden Mile, which she says paints her in a bad light.

She demanded access to episodes of the show in which her character appears, to see if she had been defamed.

However, Justice Ian Harrison today denied Ms Hatfield’s application in the NSW Supreme Court.

“It does not appear to me at present that (Ms Hatfield) may be entitled either to make a claim for damages for defamation against any of the defendants or that she may be entitled to make a claim for interlocutory relief to enjoin them from publication of the series,” his judgment read.

“Having regard to the evidence before me on this application it follows in my opinion that the plaintiff’s summons should be dismissed.”

Defendants in the matter included the Nine Network, TCN Channel Nine, and Underbelly producers Screen Time.

Ms Hatfield’s lawyer Sue Chrysanthou had argued that if the character in the television series was represented in the same way as in the book, it would be defamatory.

She said the book inferred her client was corrupt and had a sexual relationship with Sydney nightclub entrepreneur John Ibrahim while working as an officer in Kings Cross.

Representatives for the defendants said the series, for which a release date is yet to be set, was not based on the book.

Ms Hatfield has since resigned from the police force and is believed to be living outside NSW.

However, the 54-page judgment leaves open the possibility that Ms Hatfield could take further action after the crime series is shown in Nine.

“Once the series is broadcast, she will have all that she requires for the purpose of deciding whether or not to commence proceedings for that cause of action,” Justice Harris said in his judgment.

He adjourned the matter until April 1 to hear submissions on costs, for which no order was made.


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