A Brighton man who discovered he had been charged with murder on a television news report while on remand has lost his fight to suppress details of his other violent charges.
Toby Loughnane, 41, fronted Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday after being charged with the murder of his former girlfriend Maryam Hamka on Thursday. Ms Hamka, from Brunswick, was last seen alive in April. Her body has not been found.
Court documents released to The Age show Mr Loughnane is accused of murdering Ms Hamka, 36, in Brighton on April 11. She was last seen by others on April 10 and later reported missing on April 15, police said.
Mr Loughnane was already in custody when he was charged on Thursday, after being remanded over earlier alleged offending against Ms Hamka.
During Friday’s online hearing, one of Ms Hamka’s family members held up a news article headlined “Where is she now” before another woman yelled out “rot in hell” and “Toby, where is my niece?” as Magistrate Hugh Radford left his virtual bench.
Defence lawyer Sam Norton had earlier applied for a suppression order, arguing that his client might not get a fair trial on the murder charge if details of his earlier alleged offences against Ms Hamka – which include recklessly causing injury and aggravated assault – continued to be reported.
Mr Norton also accused the police of “skilfully” using the media to advance their case with Mr Loughnane finding out about his murder charge after seeing it on the television from his prison cell.
“We’re dealing with the most serious crime on the criminal calendar,” Mr Norton said.