Mining magnate Rinehart takes court action against TV series – by Jamie Smyth (Financial Times – February 13, 2015)

Sydney – Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person, has taken a television channel to court in an apparent attempt to block the broadcast of a hit miniseries detailing her colourful family and business history.

Lawyers for Mrs Rinehart told the New South Wales Supreme Court on Friday that the House of Hancock series was potentially defamatory, malicious and full of inaccuracies.

They applied to the court to force Channel Nine to hand over a copy of the second and final instalment of the show, which is due to be broadcast on Sunday, to see if there are grounds to seek an injunction to stop it airing.

Judge Peter Garling granted the application, saying that based on promotional material and interviews there was a prospect the show would air statements that are not entirely accurate or perhaps even falsified.

“I am satisfied the plaintiff is entitled to see it,” he said. The billionaire is now able to view the show before deciding whether to seek an injunction on Saturday.

The action is the latest in a flurry of legal proceedings involving Mrs Rinehart, who is embroiled in a long court battle with two of her children over control of a A$5bn family trust that holds a large portion of the family’s mining fortune.

John and Bianca Rinehart recently began a separate court action disputing the ownership of shares and assets in their mother’s business interests.

Mrs Rinehart is a controversial figure in Australia, where she owns billions of dollars worth of iron ore, coal, media and farming businesses. She controls Hancock Prospecting, a company inherited from her late father, Lang Hancock, who discovered the world’s largest iron ore deposits in the 1950s in Western Australia.

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