Reproduced with kind permission…
Two Australian residents who were found to have religiously vilified the OTO and its members in Australia have been sentenced to nine months imprisonment for contempt of court after failing to comply with orders issued by the Victorian and Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to remove offensive materials from their US hosted website.
Vivienne Legg and Dyson Devine had posted a document authored by Reina Michaelson, a child psychologist, in which she made comment that an abusive network operating in Victoria, in which children were sexually abused and killed in a scenario of satanic ritual abuse, appeared to be the OTO.
The OTO acted to defend itself, its members and Thelema against this vile and unsubstantiated slur.
OTO officers Steve King, David Bottrill and Brent Gray appeared as litigants on behalf of the OTO and successfully sued Legg and Devine for defamation, and also filed complaints of religious vilification against them and Michaelson, whose document was also posted on her organisation’s website.
Read on for more of this Press Release…
In a VCAT case settled last year Michaelson admitted she had not produced any proof that any OTO members were involved in such practices and acknowledged the offence caused by the release of the document. The settlement is located at: http://www.otoaustralia.org.au/OTO_final_terms.pdf
Michaelson also removed the document from her organisation’s former website and published a statement (see bottom of http://www.csapp.org.au) on her new website claiming that the document was placed there without her knowledge.
On 27 July 2007 Legg and Devine were found guilty of religious vilification and ordered to remove the offensive materials from their website. They failed to do this and contempt proceedings were initiated.
To ensure their appearance before the Tribunal four police officers from Victoria travelled more than 1500 kilometres to New South Wales where Legg and Devine live, and brought them to Melbourne.
Released on bail overnight with orders to appear the next day, they failed to take the opportunity provided by VCAT to comply with the Tribunal’s orders and on the morning of Wednesday 28 November 2007 Judge Harbison found that their contempt was deliberate.
She sentenced Legg and Devine to nine months imprisonment with no minimum period.
Sadly, the internet has become a haven for bigotry, ignorance and hate but on a few occasions the perpetrators of vilification are able to be bought to task for their actions.
We applaud the decision by Judge Harbison to jail Legg and Devine who clearly felt that the due process of law did not apply to them.
The Australian OTO is proud to have been able to defend its members and Thelema against these vile slanders and hope that others benefit from the action it has taken.
The OTO was once again ably represented by Cathryn Prowse of DLA Phillips Fox who was joined on this occasion by Dr Ian Freckelton, newly appointed as Senior Counsel. The Australia OTO wishes to thank Ms Prowse, Dr Freckelton and all those who have previously provided us with assistance and representation. We also thank the numerous Thelemites around the world who have supported and encouraged us throughout these litigations – we will keep you posted on future developments.