Media surrounds Gittany's girlfriend
Watch as reporters try unsuccessfully to get Simon Gittany's girlfriend Rachelle Louise to answer questions after he was found guilty of murdering Lisa Harnum.PT2M51S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2yabl 620 349 November 27, 2013
When Rachelle Louise, the highly groomed, frozen-faced girlfriend of convicted killer Simon Gittany spoke to Channel Seven last Sunday, she described the moment when her boyfriend's guilty verdict was announced. Followers of the case will remember the first thing Louise did after the judgment was handed down, was to flee the courtroom with a dramatic flourish, and smoke a cigarette.
She didn't have a light, so she demanded if anyone in the media pack encircling her had one.
''There was so many friggin' people,'' she told Channel Seven's Sunday Night program.
''So many media people.''
She said this like it was a bad thing. She said it with no trace of compunction that she was at that moment speaking to yet more ''media people'', and had pocketed a reported $150,000 to do so.
During her post-verdict smoke break, Louise took out her mobile phone and filmed the clutch of reporters and camera-men invading her personal space as she drew on her cigarette.
Rachelle Louise. Photo: Janie Barrett
It was a hideous post-modern twist on a media circus, unedifying and no doubt disgusting to the mother and family of Gittany's murder victim, Lisa Harnum.
Not only was Harnum replaced by her boyfriend with someone who looked nearly identical, now she was disappearing in the public's mind as well, supplanted by a woman who seemed to be relishing the attention.
This week, predictable public ire was poured on the head of another young brunette over the money she is apparently being paid to tell her story to the media. Schapelle Corby has stitched up some sort of exclusive interview deal, also with Channel Seven, for a much higher sum, reported to be up to $2 million.
Schapelle Corby. Photo: Jason South
Apparently the fact that Corby is being paid to tell her story is disgraceful. It is either Channel Seven's fault, or Corby's fault, or the fault of ''the media'' generally.
Elements of the media have decided it is the fault of other elements of the media. Sunrise breakfast host David Koch wanted it known that while his network had been the one to get Corby, he, personally, found it morally abhorrent.
''I reckon we should have nothing to do with her as a network. Totally disagree with paying a convicted drug smuggler $2 million,'' Koch said on Sunrise, even though he seemed to cast doubt on the safety of Corby's conviction when he subsequently said, ''I know Indonesia's corrupt and all that sort of stuff but …''
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey agreed. ''Well done @kochie_online ! It sends all the wrong messages on drugs for a convicted trafficker to be paid for her story," Hockey tweeted.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, who's never met a bandwagon upon which he didn't want to jump, said he would direct his Attorney-General to examine whether the state's proceeds of crime laws would apply to Corby.
''I am deeply concerned, in fact I am dismayed, that a convicted drug criminal has benefited it appears from her criminal activity,'' he said on Wednesday.
Oh please. Corby has served nearly 9½ years for smuggling pot into Bali.
It was a victimless crime which, had she got away with it, would have provided sundry surfers, tourists and stoners with an evening or two of giggling and faux-spiritual revelations.
There were no dreadful social impacts to her crime. No one died. The only person whose life was ruined was Corby. Let her take her money. Let her spend it on a good psychiatrist and a house by the sea, and let us all leave her in peace.
Louise, on the other hand, is rubbing salt in the wounds of Harnum's family and friends with her ostentatious displays outside court, and her insulting suggestion, during part one of the Seven network interview, that Harnum was somehow to blame for Gittany's violence.
Shown the shocking CCTV footage of Gittany dragging Harnum back into their apartment, his hand clamped over her mouth, Louise waved it away.
''It really does look horrifying when you look at it that way,'' she conceded.
''But I mean, you gotta understand also that Simon's acting instinctively. They had a relationship where she would run away from him, and he would chase her, and that's exactly what he's done.
''She's run, he's chased her, she's screamed, he's put his hand over her mouth and brought her back inside.''
It's wonderful logic - the trapped person is responsible for her own capture, and the abuse victim is complicit in her own abuse.
On Thursday The Daily Telegraph ran a full-length photograph of Louise on page three. Readers were apparently supposed to believe she had been photographed unawares as she was going about her business.
''Rachelle Louise snapped yesterday in Surry Hills sporting a new hairdo,'' the caption read. The accompanying story noted she was ''carrying a Burberry tote bag and wearing a khaki skirt over a black maxi dress''.
A picture inset into the main frame compared the woman's hairdo from last week to her hairdo on the day.
Louise was given the same treatment as a celebrity ''papped'' just popping out for milk wearing designer gear and sporting full hair and make-up. As everyone knows, such paparazzi shots are about as spontaneous as Christmas. This one had all the hallmarks of a set-up too.
The same media outlets which mawkishly lamented Harnum's violent death are now glamourising the woman who has somehow managed to pole-vault herself into the centre of the frame. I will happily watch Corby tell her reportedly $2 million story, but I'll be switching off Louise.