Prosecutors try to stop nursing home murder case coverage

PROSECUTORS at the committal hearing of accused murderer Megan Haines have unsuccessfully sought a non-publication order of the hearing this morning.

Before Magistrate David Heilpern in the Lismore Local Court, Crown prosecutor Rebecca Gray argued the evidence being tendered, if made public, could cause "significant harm" to the professional reputation of staff at Ballina's St Andrews aged care facility and "considerable distress" to current residents, family and friends.

Ms Haines, 47, is accused of murdering two elderly residents of St Andrews last year - Marie Darragh, 82, and Isobella Spencer, 77 - by injecting them with fatal doses of insulin.

Mr Heilpern said suppression orders of this type were usually sought when publication could prejudice the proper administration of justice, or protect the identities of witnesses, such as undercover police officers.

He said this was not such a situation, saying there was much public interest in an open and transparent case, so members of the public could follow the proceedings.

He said any reputational damage to those involved in the case was "collateral damage".

The committal hearing continues.