Billionaire iron-ore heiress Gina Rinehart and her family would face increased safety risks if their court battle was made public, according to three security experts.
Their reports were tendered in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday, as Australia’s richest person continued her bid to keep secret details of her family trust battle.
Her barrister Matthew Walton SC has applied for a new suppression order, claiming the global publicity has triggered safety concerns.
He said three experts concluded that the world-wide media attention to the matters meant “the public is aware of them, is aware of the identities of the players and their whereabouts to some extent”.
“That heightens, in the experts’ view, the security concerns for the various individuals - Mrs Rinehart, her four children and her grandchildren.”
But David Sibtain, for various media groups, said the orders were not necessary.
“There is scant evidence as to the likelihood of harm, no evidence of a threat, no evidence of a connection between an increased risk and any material which might arise from the proceedings,” he said.
“Nowhere has an expert identified information said to be productive of a risk.”
There was no explanation as to how any information in the case differed from other media reports on Ms Rinehart, such as her opposition to the mining tax, he said.
Three of her four children - who initiated the original lawsuit in a bid to have her ousted as trustee of the multi billion-dollar family trust - also opposed the latest application.
Existing suppression orders have been extended to March 9, when Ms Rinehart will ask the High Court for leave to challenge a ruling which revoked orders keeping the trust litigation secret.
Documents tendered on Tuesday referred to newspaper articles which revealed that Ms Rinehart had contacted her three children taking the legal action against her.
She threatened to cut off their insurance against ransom if they did not agree to keep the dispute secret.
As a result, the insurer threatened to cancel the policy on the grounds that the existence of the policy had been made public, the documents said.
Another email said that the $20 million limits requested for such insurance were “beyond the capacity provided by a majority of Australian contingency insurers”.
The documents also disclosed an email by Ms Rinehart to the editor-in-chief of the Financial Review in which she said: “From over exposed! I haven’t read all the media, there’s too much of it!, and I get tired of reading about “me” (don’t others?)“
Justice Michael Ball will give his decision on the suppression application before March 9.
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