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Relatives of murdered Gregory John Workman seek injunction on Underbelly

THE family of a man murdered by Melbourne mobster Alphonse Gangitano will try to stop Channel Nine's controversial Underbelly series from going to air.

The grieving brother and former partner of Gregory John Workman claim the shocking first episode of the new show paints an inaccurate picture of Workman who was ruthlessly gunned down by Gangitano in cold blood in 1995.

Brother Wayne and former partner Patrice Lawton will today seek urgent legal advice about getting an injunction to stop the multi-million dollar program about Melbourne's underworld from premiering on Nine on Wednesday night.

Workman's son Taylor, a 16-year-old schoolboy who was just three when his father was murdered, will not watch the show because his family fears he will suffer by seeing the father he loves inaccurately portrayed on national television.

"This show is a terrible legacy for Taylor to have to live with given the lies that are told about his father Greg in it," uncle Wayne said.

"We are up in arms that Greg is portrayed as having just been released from prison and for owing money to Gangitano at the time of his murder."

The Workman's family lawyer, Stan Waites, said episode one, The Black Prince, was way off track to portray Greg Workman "as a cowardly and subservient fat slob".

"He was not a mate of Gangitano and he didn't owe Gangitano money," Mr Waites said.

"His death was the result of a chance meeting that got out of hand.

"He was not involved in the underworld and by linking his murder to a series about gangland crime and killings is to misrepresent him and his situation."

Workman, a petty criminal, was shot by Gangitano eight times at point blank range in St Kilda.

He lived for 12 hours, before dying in hospital aged 44.

Ironically, it will be exactly 13 years to the day of his funeral that Channel 9 will unveil the first of the 13-part crime series.

Gangitano was charged with Workman's murder but never went to trial after a witness recanted their evidence.

Taylor's mother and Workman's former partner, Ms Lawton asked why the series had ever been made.

"It opens old wounds and leaves you emotionally raw and upset again," she said.

"Greg went out with mates one night and never came home.

"It's terrible for Taylor because he loves his father and sleeps with a portrait of the two of them together next to his bed.

"And despite putting his father's tragic death behind him, he is going to have to go to school on Thursday and everyone will be talking about it."

Wayne Workman said he saw no sense in the series' creation.

"It opens old wounds and causes grief and pain for the many, countless and often young innocent victims of the gangland wars," Mr Workman said.

"Not just victims like Taylor, but even the children of the gangsters who have to re-live the notoriety of what their fathers did and how they died."

Ms Lawton said Taylor had been partly protected from the grisly details of his father's murder.

"He knows he was shot by Alphonse Gangitano and he knows who Gangitano was.

"He used to bring up the subject every time there was another gangland killing and asked if it was all related.

"But he is a well adjusted young man who is getting on with his life and has many friends.

"How are they going to react when they see how the series so incorrectly portrays Taylor's father?"

Mr Workman said countless other innocent victims of the gangland killings will also be traumatised by the 13-part series on Melbourne's underworld.

He said he felt not just for innocent bystanders dragged into the crime spree, but also the innocent children of gangsters who lived in the shadow of their father's reputations and violent deaths.

Director of Public Prosecutions Jeremy Rapke, QC, has considered trying to stop the broadcast amid fears it could jeopardise a criminal trial.

By Kelly Ryan
February 11, 2008
The Daily Telegraph