Rinehart tipped to sue Nine over House of Hancock despite earlier settlement

Rinehart-234x2971Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has come up with a list of 20 “glaring errors” in last night’s episode of Network Nine’s miniseries about her life the House of Hancock, despite winning an injunction on Saturday leading to the network editing several minutes of the show.

The Rinehart camp today issued a statement listing a number of ‘errors’ in the mini-series, which portrayed the relationship between Rinehart, her father Lang Hancock and his second wife Rose Porteous, despite having reached a negotiated settlement with the TV Network in an unusual Saturday session of the Supreme Court, which saw Nine agreed to a number of edits and a disclaimer on the program. 

Included in the list of errors is the claim “The scene showing Mrs Rinehart as having a conversation with her deceased father is offensive, given it didn’t occur and may question sanity”.

In a statement Mark Wilks, solicitor for Rinehart said: “Although Channel 9 inserted a disclaimer into House of Hancock regarding that certain scenes were fictionalised, the House of Hancock miniseries remains devoid of factual accuracy and is almost entirely fiction.

“What was not entirely fictitious, was twisted so as to be incorrect. As a show it has denigrated the memory of Mrs Rinehart’s late parents and husband and wrongly portrayed that it accurately depicted those family members.

“The show misled that such portrayal was “real” or ” true” when it was not. Obviously a portrayal of events that didn’t occur, and or didn’t occur in that way, cannot form a basis for depicting Mrs Rinehart, her parents or her husband.”

When asked if they would file writs of defamation representatives for Rinehart were coy but pointed to a list of 20 “glaring errors” which it says it informed Nine of before the broadcast.

Included in the list are details such as whether or not Rinehart ordered security glass for Hancock Prospecting, to private exchanges between Rinehart and her father as he approached his death and changes his will.

Nine has declined to comment on the potential for legal action but said it was pleased with the metro audience of 1.380m viewers who tuned in for the program.

On Saturday the case was held over until March 3 for a directions hearing, where Rinehart could file a defamation suit on the network.

The case comes after the Rinehart won the first stage of her legal battle with the Nine Network to gain access to the miniseries ahead of the broadcast. 

Nic Christensen 

Rinehart’s list of complaints about the season episode of House of Hancock:

We are instructed that from at least after the marriage  of Frank Rinehart, Lang Hancock never took John Hancock on an outing to any park or elsewhere by himself without at least Mr and or Mrs Rinehart present.  It follows that the scene depicting this conversation is fictitious.

At the time Lang Hancock went to the US for major surgery, we are instructed that Mrs Rinehart was not in Perth. It is erroneous and false to depict Mrs Rinehart going to Prix d’Amour to visit Lang Hancock and being informed by a house maid that he had travelled to the US for major surgery.

Mrs Rinehart never met her father and Rose Porteous at the airport after his surgery.  At the time this scene is said to have taken place, Mrs Rinehart was overseas.  It follows that the scene depicting a confrontation between Mrs Rinehart and Rose Porteous at the airport is erroneous and mischievous. As Channel 9 are aware, from their records, after Mr Hancock decided to engage Mrs Porteous as his housekeeper after a trial period, Mrs Rinehart scarcely saw her and almost never spoke to her, so the confrontation scenes are false.

There is a false scene in which Alan Camp meets Mrs Rinehart at her mother’s grave informing her that Lang Hancock had changed his will. No such scene ever took place.  We are also instructed that Mrs Rinehart was living with her children in the US around the time Mr Hancock changed his will and did not return to Australia until shortly before Christmas 1991.  Any historical passport or immigration records will support that she was in the US until late December 1991.

Mr Hancock is shown to have had a conversation with Reg Browne during which he says words to the effect “I’ll look after you for the rest of your life”.  Mr Hancock recorded that Reg Browne should receive 2 payments, both of which were paid.  The suggestion that no payments were made to Reg Browne by either Mrs Rinehart or Hancock Prospecting Pty Limited is erroneous and mischievous.

The scene depicting Mrs Rinehart confronting Mr Hancock whilst he was in hospital is entirely untrue and false.  The suggestion that such a scene ever occurred is grossly offensive to Mrs Rinehart.  To portray Mrs Rinehart in this way is entirely inconsistent with the reality that Mrs Rinehart loved her father genuinely and would not behave in a way that would distress him while he was in hospital.

It is entirely fictional to depict Mrs Rinehart walking out of Mr Hancock’s hospital room to find Ms Hilda Kickett waiting to “pay her respects”.  No such scene happened, nor could it, as Mrs Rinehart has never met Ms Kickett.

Mrs Rinehart is depicted as attending a party at Prix d’Amour after Mr Hancock was released from hospital.  Mrs Rinehart never attended such party and the only dinner party Mrs Rinehart attended at Prix d’Amour was the dinner party at which Danny La Rue performed in 1992.  There was never an occasion on which Mrs Rinehart placed her hand on her father’s hand and he pushed her away.  At the dinner party Mr Hancock became cross with events not related to Mrs Rinehart and her father asked her to take him by wheelchair out of the party, to the separate guest house, which she did well prior to the other guests departing.

The suggestions pervading many scenes that Mrs Rinehart in any way “conspired” or “worked with” Mr Camp to prepare a deed to circumvent Mr Hancock’s last will and testament are false.  Mrs Rinehart’s father made the will referred to in the program in December 1991.   Mr Hancock took out an Apprehended Violence Order on 26 March 1992., and Channel 9 has Mr Hancocks testimony given under oath.   The Deed was executed on 20 March 1992.  Mr Hancock, in the weeks prior to the execution of the deed expressed the view and gave instructions , including to a lawyer Mr Martin Bennett, that he wanted to change his will to change  the position in the will, such that His former housekeeper  was effectively to receive only some housekeeping money.  Mr Martin Bennett, a lawyer acting also for The estranged wife recorded this in writing in a February 1992 letter to Mr Hancock.  Separately BHP had expressed concerns about whether the Hancock company purporting to sell McCamey’s Monster had  title and whether it was appropriate to pay a royalty post sale to Mr Hancock personally, when Mr Hancock did not own McCameys, but HPPL did. The Deed was intended to clarify that the beneficial owner of McCamey’s Monster was in fact Hancock Prospecting Pty Limited, not another company, and that any royalty post sale would be paid to HPPL and not Mr Hancock.  Alan Camp, who was one of Mr Hancock’s legal advisers in that short period, proposed that the instructed change in Mr Hancock’s will position should be implemented by deed. The February 1992 letter of Mr Bennett, confirms that Mr Hancock instructed such change to effectively disinherit his then estranged wife.

There is a scene showing Alan Camp taking a copy of a deed into Lang Hancock’s bedroom and leaving it there for him to sign.  This is entirely fictitious, as Mr Hancock’s trusted managing director, Gary Schwab,  was the only person to have provided Mr Hancock with a deed to be signed.

Reg Browne is depicted as forcibly removing Rose Porteous from Lang Hancock’s bedside.  No such scene ever happened and is inconsistent with the actual events.  The nurse who was caring for Lang Hancock at this time, Michael,  was upset that Reg Browne took no steps to forcibly remove Rose Porteous in circumstances where she was clearly causing him distress, and said so independently.

Lang Hancock is shown as having moved to the guest wing of Prix d’Amour shortly before his death.  We are instructed that Lang Hancock had in fact been in a separate guest house for some months, in between his hospital admissions and visits to the farm, and did not return to a guest wing shortly prior to his death.

In relation to the suggestion that Lang Hancock take out a violence restraining order against Rose Porteous, it was Alan Camp who advised Mr Hancock he could do so, given the stress he had received. Mr Hancock gave sworn evidence at that restraining order  hearing which was provided to Channel 9.

There is a scene depicting John Hancock visiting Lang Hancock at his bedside during which Lang Hancock is alleged to have suggested that John Hancock was entitled to take over the company.  This scene is entirely inconsistent with actual events.  Lang Hancock actually said to a group of people he requested attend a meeting, which included Mrs Rinehart and one of his instructed lawyers, that when he died Mrs Rinehart would be the “Queen Bee” who would be running the HPPL group, something John Hancock was also aware of.

It is false to depict Mrs Rinehart as addressing HPPL staff  on developing the Roy Hill tenements shortly after her father’s death in March 1992.  Public record shows that it was not until January 1993 that the application for  Roy Hill was successful, and therefore not possible for such scene prior to then.

Mrs Rinehart did not arrange security glass for HPPL’s offices until late 1997.

Mrs Rinehart never ran into Rose Porteous in a clothes shop in Sydney or elsewhere, or in any shop.   To portray otherwise and that there was such a confrontation between them is false.  We repeat that Mrs Rinehart scarcely saw Mrs Porteous after her father decided to engage her as housemaid after a trial period, and spoke with her even less.

Mrs Rinehart is shown to have sent John Hancock to the Philippines to work with a man known as Colin Pace. Mrs Rinehart never asked or instructed John Hancock or Rinehart  to go to the Philippines, and John Hancock has advised that he has never been to the Philippines then or at any time. Mrs Rinehart has never met Colin Pace, not even by phone, and to suggest otherwise in any scene is false.

The scene showing Mrs Rinehart as having a conversation with her deceased father is offensive, given it didn’t occur and may question sanity.

John Hancock is shown to have had a conversation with Mrs Rinehart to the effect that HPPL should not have expended resources on pursuing the inquest.  We are instructed that no such conversation took place and that John Hancock never expressed these views to Mrs Rinehart. Indeed John Hancock (then Rinehart) wrote a letter requesting the inquest.


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