A Melbourne magistrate has banned publication of prejudicial material about the man accused of murdering Melbourne woman Jill Meagher in a bid to halt an unprecedented social media hate campaign waged against him.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Felicity Broughton said while it had been argued an order suppressing material about Adrian Ernest Bayley was futile given the 'anarchic nature' of the internet, the court had to do its best to protect the administration of justice.
She said there were companies such as Facebook that hosted the material.
But Ms Broughton refused an application to suppress the image of Bayley.
She said neither the prosecution, nor Bayley's lawyers, had submitted that identity would be an issue in the case and therefore did not believe publication of Bayley's photo would prejudice the administration of justice.
Bayley's case and the death of Ms Meagher had attracted 'an extraordinary level of media and public interest', she said.
A large bundle of material from social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter that victimised and promoted hatred against Bayley was provided to Ms Broughton by lawyers for Bayley.
Ms Broughton said revealing such information was 'prejudicial, contemptuous and extremely serious'.
She granted an order suppressing certain background information about Bayley until a committal mention on January 18.
Bayley's lawyer Helen Spowart had applied for both his image and the prejudicial material to be suppressed.
'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 on Wednesday.
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.
Bayley, who appeared in court via videolink from prison, sat wearing a grey jumper with his hands clasped in front of him and his head bowed.
Bayley, 41, of Coburg, has been charged with Ms Meagher's rape and murder.
Ms Meagher was allegedly attacked while walking home from a Brunswick bar in the early hours of September 22.