“Protest Website Lands Two In Jail”

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From The Daily Examiner…

TWO Tucabia residents have been jailed for contempt of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and sentenced to nine months jail in Victoria after refusing to remove offensive material from their protest website.

A warrant for the arrest of Vivienne Legg and Dyson Devine was issued on November 28, 2007 after a lengthy court battle was launched by Brent Gray and David Bottrill, members of a religion called Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), in the State’s anti-discrimination court.

The court found Legg and Devine guilty under the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act anti-discrimination legislation pertaining to racial and religious vilification after they published information on their website, gaiaguys.net.

According to court documents obtained by The Daily Examiner, a document penned by Dr Reina Michaelson who, at the time was executive director of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program Inc, claimed the OTO was not a religion but a paedophile ring operating in Australia, along with other various unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims. The court papers state that the words reproduced on the gaiaguys website fuel religious bigotry and create an environment of persecution, apprehension and that the reproduction of the words incited hatred against, serious contempt for, revulsion of and severe ridicule of members of OTO including Mr Bottrill and Mr Gray.

Mr Bottrill told the court the publication of the words on the internet, and their subsequent republication by others accepting x these allegations as facts harm the reputation of the OTO and hurt its members. On July 27, 2007, nearly two years after the case began, the court found in favour of Mr Bottrill and Mr Gray and OTO.

Devine and Legg were ordered to remove the document and subsequent hyperlinks from the website specified and refrain from making, publishing or distributing in Victoria, including on the internet whether in writing or orally and whether directly or indirectly (including by the internet or by inserting any hyperlink on the internet), any statements, information, suggestions or implications to the same or similar effect.

Legg and Devine failed to comply with the court orders, and in court documents dated November 28, 2007, Honour Judge Harbison said neither respondents (Legg and Devine) intends to remove the material from the website in compliance with the order and the two were to be arrested and sentenced to nine months jail.

Judge Harbison said at the time: there is still an enormous amount of dreadfully insulting and quite bizarre material contained in the offending part of the website in relation to which the order has been made, adding Mr Devine said to me that as far as he understood it, he was clearly in contempt of the Tribunal. He did not wish to call any evidence and that he wished me to sentence him to prison.

The gaiaguys.net website was a well-known forum on the North Coast. It hosted a number of unsubstantiated allegations about North Coast politicians, particularly the former Member for Page, Ian Causley, over his involvement in the transfer of land from the former Pine Brush Forest near Tucabia.


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