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Things I Think About, by Peter Bowditch

How to attack freedom of speech.

One of the things I have noticed over the years is that crooks and quacks (often indistinguishable) do not reach for scientists or experimenters when asked for evidence of their claims. Instead they reach for lawyers who are employed to silence criticism. The tactics vary, but he objective is always the same – make threats that imply that awful things will happen to people who don’t keep quiet. Here are a few that have been tried on me over the years.

  • Copyright violation – This was used by a company who had been found by the Federal Court of Australia to be operating an illegal pyramid scheme and who didn’t like me talking about it. They claimed copyright on, among other things, a photograph which had been altered to imply that they had an entire building as their Australian headquarters when in fact they rented a single floor, material from a web site which they had denied in the Federal Court action had anything to do with them, and an email headed “Death to Ratbags” which they claimed both copyright on and total ignorance of.
  • Trademark violation or dilution – This was the complaint of a doctor who used a false university degree on the covers of her books and her web sites. I didn’t bother fighting this because I had already succeeded in getting her to stop lying about her qualifications, but I’m sure I could have won in court if I tried. Think about the ramifications of not being able to mention a trademark in any published criticism or comment about any company. The idea is absurd, but apparently not as absurd as claiming that, for example, diabetes can be cured. Another person tried to claim that his name was trademarked so I couldn’t mention it but as he had published a web site about me claiming that I am a pedophile and a Nazi I didn’t really care how offended he was.
  • Malicious damage to business – This was the claim by the pyramid scheme operators when they finally went to court. They made three specific claims – the owner of the building where they had their office (the building they suggested they owned in their advertising literature) had instructed the managing agents to terminate their lease and evict them, call centre operators employed by Australia’s two largest telecommunications companies had been instructed to refer callers to my criticism of the company, and, best of all, a Google search for their company name brought up their web site lower in the list than mine. This might all sound like a joke but all they had to do was prove that I’d cost them a dollar in business and they would have won the case. As one of their employees had committed perjury when swearing an affidavit in court (he had no excuse of ignorance – he was a qualified lawyer) I’m sure they could have found someone to swear that they had not done business with the company because of what I had said.
  • Threat of bankruptcy – When I was sued in California along with many other people (and some non-people) by the late but not lamented cancer quack Hulda Clark, one of her minions suggested that the purpose of the action was to submit the respondents to about $100,000 in legal fees each, plus travel and accommodation costs. (The case was withdrawn when the court asked Clark’s lawyer to start producing evidence.) A quack in Sydney who had settled an action with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission lawyered up and tried to stop me reporting the facts. Her lawyers talked about long and expensive litigation but they went away when I told them that their client had issued a media release saying that they had broken no laws and the ACCC were corrupt. (I had notified the ACCC of the press release.) During the course of my case with the pyramid scheme crooks they had a windfall of $4 million when some funds frozen by a court in another matter were released. Their exact words to my barrister: “We now have unlimited funds to spend on this. Can your client say the same?”.
  • General nuisance and disruption – Any legal action, win or lose, is a distraction to real life. At the very minimum you have to respond to credible threats and maybe spend a day or two in court. Clark’s lawyers had no intention of ever going to court but they wanted the respondents to brief lawyers and be ready to go to court at any time. I finally settled with the pyramid scammers because they wanted to go into discovery mode, which would have meant them taking possession of every computer I own plus my business records and keeping all this for as long as they wanted to.
  • “Only people who are wrong are sued” – There are still web sites out there that pretend that the Clark case against me is continuing. I know of at least two web sites which refer to a court order made with my full consent on the very first day in court with the pyramid schemers and offer this as evidence that I lost the case. In fact, I lost business over this matter because some people simply won’t do business with someone who has upset a multinational corporation, no matter how many times that corporation has been found to be operating outside the law in other countries. Reputation is easy to lose, and often this is the only motivation for initiating legal action. Sue someone, then withdraw after the damage is done.

A new one appeared this week. On a Sunday morning I had the police at my door to inform me that an application had been made for an Apprehended Personal Violence Order against me, and I am to appear in court in three weeks at a courthouse 735 kilometres from my place by road to defend myself. The application was made on September 5 and relates to something I said on April 29, so there doesn’t appear to be much urgency to the threat. The person making the application lives 11 kilometres further away from my place than the courthouse is, so I’m not about to drop in. My violent threat was to say that someone who encouraged people to contact my family and tell them I have mental health issues should leave my family alone or I might respond and they might not like the response.

If the application were to be granted I would have certain conditions placed on me. Let’s look at what those would mean.

1. The defendant must not enter the premises at which the protected person(s) may from time to time reside or work, or other specified premises.

Would this mean that, for example, if the “protected person” came to Sydney for a court case that I would be prohibited from entering the hotel where she is staying? And what could “other specified premises” mean?

2. The defendant must not go within 100m of the premises at which the protected person(s) may from time to time reside or work, or other specified premises.

The “protected person” lives on a secondary main road that is used as the alternative route when the main highway nearby is blocked by flood or accident or major road maintenance is being carried out. It is also on the most direct route to certain tourist facilities. If I happen to be driving in the area and the police ask me to detour along this road would I be within my rights to refuse because that would take me within 100 metres of her house?

3. The defendant must not approach or contact the protected person(s) by any means whatsoever except through the defendant’s legal representatives.

So if this person joins an Internet mailing list or forum of which I am a member and which allows messages to be broadcast to all members I must get my lawyer to post messages for me in case she sees them? Do I have to block her IP address from access to my web sites in case she reads something I have written, as surely this is a form of contact? I should point out that the “protected person” is quite free to post comments on this blog or any of my web sites, to email me, to follow me on Twitter and to fully participate in any forum where I have a presence.

4. The defendant must not mention the name of the applicant in any online forum in any derogatory manner.

I wonder why the words “name of the” were crossed out. How else could I refer to the applicant? Oh, perhaps I could mention her position in the organisation she heads. And I wonder if there is a legal definition of “derogatory”.

Of course I will be defending this idiocy. It is nothing more than an attempt to stifle criticism and prevent me from speaking out on a matter of extreme public importance. It takes some thickness of hide to think that someone can accuse me of criminal activity, refer to me using words like “total slime” and facilitate other people lying about my (non-existent) criminal record and expect me to lie down and be silenced.


UPDATE April 26, 2013

On April 26, 2013, the AVO application against me was dismissed in the Lismore Local Court. The applicant cried while trying to argue with the magistrate after the decision was announced. The emotionally choked voice just made my victory even sweeter.

It's over!

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22 thoughts on “How to attack freedom of speech.

  • Dan Buzzard says:

    Who filed to AVO? If I had to guess my picks would be.

    1. Meryl Dorey

    2. Judy Wilyman

    3. Liz Hempel

  • PartlyCloudy says:

    Great news! You forgot mention the reason you’ve been served: you uttered a death threat! SMF! And yes your criminal record is reported in Austlii: charged, convicted and incarcerated for aggravated assault! The public record of your Internet activity, civil and criminal actions, and previous complaints to police will no doubt serve you well.

    One can only hope that the stress of this, combined with your alcohol induced Type II Diabetes and cardio-vascular disease will guide you gently towards the light.

    Friends (?) and family must be so very proud of you!

    And yes, threatening to strangle someone with someone else’s entrails is also a death threat….

    • Actually, I did mention what I did and it wasn’t a death threat (not that you would know), but people with so few working neurons might not have noticed.

      Oh, Mr O’Neill, you never fail to amuse me. You rant on anonymously (because you don’t have the courage to say who you are) and you think that this impresses people or somehow makes them think less of me. You have been telling these same lies for so many years that even you with your limited intellect should have realised by now that you are a laughing stock.

      Keep it up. We all need a good laugh. At you.

      For those who came in late, Mr O’Neill is a cancer quack from Canada who is so anorchitic that he has to post anonymously. You can see more of his work at http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/onews/onews.htm and him in the more familiar Gutless Anonymous Liar mode at http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/onews/gal.htm

    • RobL says:

      Is he referring to this and seriously claiming it’s you? If anyone believes this I despair further of the human race.

  • Jason says:

    I don’t see how the last one can possibly fly, since the person in question is in fact a public figure. And that’s the only one that would appear to have any effect whatsoever.

    Unless that person intends to resign the offices held? That would be fine too.

    • Dan Buzzard says:

      I suspect the purpose of the AVO is so Meryl can claim that Peter had an AVO filed against him to further her lies of persecution. At this point I don’t think anyone outside of the anti-vax movement takes anything she says seriously.

  • Ohyeah! says:

    Does the applicant understand that an AVO goes both ways? In order to ensure that you do not go within 100 metres of her, you can ask for the details of where she will reasonably expected to be at times other than in her own home. Also, insomuch as you cannot approach her, she cannot approach you, so if you list where you are likely to be, she cannot approach you.

    I would fight point 2. GIven the applicant tends to “work” all over the place, it is neither practicle or reasonable for you to stay away from all those places. Of course, you could ask the applicant to list all the places in question, including dates and you can see if that conflicts with the accesses to the community you need.

    AVO’s are unidirectional. While you cannot approach her, she cannot approach you .. so her access to your website’s / pages would have to immediately cease .. both directly AND via the use of a 3rd party. You could ask the magistrate to clarify that, and ensure she understands that she cannot facilitate others to contact you. In fact, upon reflection, that’s not a bad thing.

    Point 4 needs to be clarified also, as this AVO is clearly not about a threat to her person, perceived or otherwise .. she thinks this is a way to silence you on the subject you are pursuing.

    A good lawyer should be able to wipe the floor with her.

    From memory, having been served with this information you can now seek through the courts and her lawyer, better and further particulars of her accusations and a whole bunch of other information.

    If you’re clever, you could probably use this court hearing to facilitate discussion on her, her organisation and her behaviour ….

    it’s like a win/win.

  • Ohyeah! says:

    Actually, if she comes to your website, or if anyone of her followers links to it or screen shots it I think you’ll find she will be in breach of the AVO. She will be liable for prosecution.

    It seems quite ludicrous to pursue an AVO without fear of physical harm as it adversely affects the person making the application as well as the other person.

  • Macca says:

    How is your freespeech being attacked by an avo? Dosent your blood money paid by the pharmacy lobby buy you all the advertising you need. #dumpbowditch

  • Ohyeah! says:

    So, if those who agree with vaccination are big pharma shills Macca, what are the dimwitted losers who run around the internet doing doreys bidding called? Dorey Shills?

    I had a post removed from facebook because Dorey didn’t like it. I said, that big pharmaceuticals are companies and as such they are there to earn a profit for their shareholders. There isn’t actually anything wrong with that, every company sets out to do that. Indeed, Dorey makes a better than average living with her anti-vaccination group .. so if those of use who support vaccination are big pharma shills, then those who support Dorey are anti-vacc nutjob shills …

    and really, reporting all posts on facebook to try and silence people is just stupid, it gives us time to go out and setup web pages she cannot touch …

  • Anonymous says:

    I note on your other organ (ragbags.com/rsoles) you criticize Ms. Dorey for publishing information concerning the AVO she has filed naming you as respondent…..and yet you publish? You are very right by suggesting the court takes a very dim view of those who publicize matters that are before it: complainants and respondents.

    I have downloaded relevant materials from the internet that are very clear examples of your contempt for the courts, law and your criminal behaviour. These include other examples of death threats, criminal record, libel, defamation, bigotry and hate. I will be attending on the 27th and will be seeking intervenor status. No doubt there will a referral to the crown for criminal charges….

    Good luck! You’re really gonna need it!And, I do so very much look forward to meeting you in person!

    • Bwahahahahahah! Some thing so devoid of courage that it has to use an anonymiser to talk to me is going to go to court and tell the magistrate all about me. No doubt it will wear a garbage bag over its head to retain its anonymity.

      Feel free to turn up on the 27th, Mr O’Neill. I won’t be there, because it’s just a mention hearing to set a date for the real action.

      Seeking intervention status!! If Mr O’Neill did actually turn up (all the way from Canada) I can imagine that the magistrate would have to call a recess to get over his fit of laughing at the ridiculous fool.

      Don’t forget the garbage bag, Mr O’Neill. Make yourself twice as funny.

  • Bowditch is a Dumb Fucking Cunt says:

    Would have written in sooner, but only now just stopped laughing. It appears 2 down and 1 to go…Rafaelle’s and Buzzard’s was a cake walk. Yours however, is going to be a little more complex because the Justice considers your actions criminal….great news!

    So in anticipation of your November criminal charges, we all got together and agreed to collect as much evidence of your internet stalking, libel, defamation, death threats, abuse, cyber bullying and so many flattering instances of such an outstanding and tolerant Australian…..for whom we are all so very proud….

    You are truly a worthless piece of shit….Fuck Off!

    • Perhaps in Canada, where Mr O’Neill comes from, they refer to a magistrate as “Justice”, but not here. Perhaps he flew in the wrong direction out of Ottawa and ended up in Ballina Court in County Mayo in Ireland, and that is why he has absolutely no idea what went on in Ballina, New South Wales, yesterday.

      A question for Mr O’Neill – why are you so gutless that you can’t use your own name but have to hide behind anonymisers, like the way cockroaches run under the refrigerator when someone turns on the kitchen light? How embarrassing it must be to be you.

      • Dan Buzzard says:

        What did happen in Ballina?

        • Interim AVOs against two people, but not against me. I spoke to the court and the lady said that the paperwork was being worked on right that minute. I have a hearing scheduled for November 15, with an exchange of evidence and arguments between the parties before that date. I assume the other two subjects of applications will get something official next week.

          I’m encouraged by the fact that the magistrate didn’t place an order on me. Perhaps he was too stunned by someone in a garbage bag ranting in Canadian about how I might not be an Aborigine now but I certainly was in 1985.

  • […] Peter Bowditch responded to the allegations on his personal blog stating:  My violent threat was to say that someone who encouraged people to contact my family and tell them I have mental health issues should leave my family alone or I might respond and they might not like the response. […]

  • Merry Christmas & Fuck off! says:

    “how to attack the freedom of speech”? WTF!? I believe you are doing the attacking and they are doing the defending. Does freedom of speech include uttering threats of death, sexual assault, and mutilation. It does, however, embrace accountability and you being held accountable.

    When the Lismore Court clerk was asked “do accept evidence from other parties that have similar complaints concerning Mr. Peter Bowditch” The answer was “yes the court does routinely receive evidence from unrelated parties to the AVO” Great news!….Don’t you think?

    • Yet again Mr O’Neill puts on the clown wig and the big shoes to try to make us laugh. He also puts on his Gutless Anonymous Liar mask in the vain hope that he won’t be recognised.

      Any time you feel like making an application to the Court and turning up, Mr O’Neill, I’ll be quite happy to ridicule you to your face.