Sydney siege interviews 'could prejudice'

(File: AAP)

Some survivors of the Sydney cafe siege have recorded TV interviews about their ordeal, but legal experts fear they could taint the upcoming inquests.

Broadcasting interviews with the Sydney cafe siege hostages could prejudice the outcomes of the inquests into those who died, legal experts say.

A number of survivors have reportedly signed six-figure deals to tell their stories to television networks, a move that has already been slammed as being in poor taste.

On Thursday others also criticised their actions, with former director of public prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery saying it could lead to the victims exaggerating their accounts to make good TV.

Mr Cowdery said the matter was "very complex" as formal investigations into the deaths of hostages Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson, and gunman Man Haron Monis were still taking place.

"There are a lot of areas of concern - moral, ethical, freedom of the press, and so on," he told AAP on Thursday.

"The part of it I'm particularly interested in is the integrity of the formal legal processes to run their course without being hampered by the sale of stories beforehand."

He said there were two issues to consider - the victims telling their stories commercially before doing so under the law, and whether those interviews should be broadcast before the inquest.

Mr Cowdery did not question whether the victims should pocket the quoted sums of up to $300,000.

On Tuesday, former Victoria premier Jeff Kennett branded the payments as "just plain grubby".

Mr Cowdery, a Queen's counsel who was NSW Director of Public Prosecutions from 1994 to 2011, said the decision to air the interviews came down to the ethics of the broadcasters and their codes of conduct.

Former state coroner John Abernethy suggested a legal intervention could stop the interviews being aired.

It's been reported that siege survivor Marcia Mikhael has been signed by the Seven Network for more than $300,000, while 82-year-old hostage survivor John O'Brien will be paid $100,000.

A further four survivors have reportedly been secured by the Nine Network.

Most of them are also entitled to financial compensation, albeit for much smaller sums.

Under NSW law, compensation for hostages could be capped at $1500 if they fall under the category of assault without grievous bodily harm.

This has led NSW Attorney-General Brad Hazzard to write to the federal government urging it to give the hostages access to up to $75,000 compensation that is usually provided to Australians caught in overseas terrorism attacks.

Monis held 18 people captive in the Martin Place cafe in December before the siege ended in his death and that of hostages Ms Dawson and Mr Johnson.

Source AAP

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