The West

Jill Meagher's memorial service in Drogheda, Ireland. Picture: Getty Images

A lawyer for the Melbourne man charged with murdering ABC staffer Jill Meagher has applied to suppress his image amid "unprecedented attention" surrounding the case.

Lawyer Helen Spowart told the Melbourne Magistrate's Court on Wednesday there was material on social media websites that expressed hatred towards her client Adrian Ernest Bayley and speculated about him.

Bayley, 41, of Coburg, is charged with the rape and murder of Ms Meagher, who was allegedly attacked while walking home from a Brunswick bar in the early hours of September 22.

Her body was later found in a shallow grave north-west of Melbourne.

Ms Spowart is also seeking to suppress certain information about Bayley.

"It is clear from this material that the accused is a target of intense and almost unprecedented attention, scrutiny and speculation as to his background," she told the court.

She said without the suppression orders there was potential damage to her client's right to a fair trial and to the administration of justice.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Gavin Silbert, SC, supported the application to suppress the information about Bayley, but did not support the application to suppress his image.

When asked about image, Mr Silbert replied: "At this point in time there seems nothing before Your Honour that warrants an order in respect of that category."

Lawyers for the media opposed both applications.

Lawyer John-Paul Cashen said the material Ms Spowart had spoken about had not been published in the mainstream media.

Mr Cashen said there were also issues about whether the order could be enforced.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Felicity Broughton said we do not live in a perfect world and there was no perfect way to prevent jurors from accessing prejudicial material.

She said it was a "new world" because of the internet.

Ms Broughton will deliver her decision today.

The West Australian

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