in brief: Jill Meagher crime scene photograph used at police fundraiser
Victorian Police have apologised for the use of a crime scene photograph of Jill Meagher semi-naked in a shallow grave.
The photograph was used at a Bendigo fundraiser for prostate cancer with 400 attendees last Friday.
Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles was using the image as part of a talk on homicide investigations.
Victoria Police’s Acting Deputy Comissioner, Steve Fontana has enacted a ban on showing material linked to operational matters. The Acting Deputy Comissioner has described the Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles’s use of the image as a ‘deeply unfortunate error of judgment.’
The fundraiser’s organiser, Keith Sunderland, has told the ABC the use of the photograph has been misconstrued. ‘He wasn’t glorifying anything, he was just presenting the facts,’ he said. ‘Look after your mates is the big message he was trying to get through.’
Audience members were said to have attempted to avert their eyes, despite Sunderland’s insistence the talk had them ‘spellbound.’ ‘I was shocked, and where I was sitting a few people looked at each other and there were raised eyebrows,’ one attendee told the Herald Sun.
Despite this, Prostate Cancer of Australia maintains the majority of the audience was not offended by the use of the image. ‘We have also spoken to people in attendance who have explained that the presentation was not offensive and the context was a story about the process of police investigation, and that sensitive material was clearly prefaced with a warning,’ spokesperson Ishtar Schneider told the Herald Sun.
Jill Meagher’s family has not yet commented on the issue.