The Supreme Court of NSW has published its final determination on Serge Benhayon’s unsuccessful defamation claim against me. The document can be used by any member of the public to seek assurances that anti-social cult Universal Medicine does not continue its harms into the future. See below for a proposed template for making notifications about UM.
The court’s final determination reflecting the jury’s findings is available at this link: https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/5c772e44e4b0196eea404c09#
On October 15 2018, at the end of a six week trial, the jury in Benhayon v Rockett reached a unanimous finding that 37 serious allegations about the conduct of cult leader Serge Benhayon were proven true. In short, he was found to be a dishonest, predatory charlatan who indecently touches his clients; the sexually manipulative leader of an exploitative and socially harmful cult; and a bully with an indecent interest in children. I provided the full list of the imputations proven true on another blog.
Serge Benhayon cannot sue anyone ever again for stating those facts.
Benhayon has surrounded himself with aggressive and dishonest defenders and enablers. They have underhandedly infiltrated numerous workplaces, institutions and community organizations including education and health services. They have established numerous deceptive front organizations with the objective of recruiting new subscribers, and gaining influence in business and political circles, and networks that give them access to vulnerable targets. Their goal is to expand the Universal Medicine cult and increase the wealth and influence of its hierarchy. They are willing to underhandedly exploit legitimate organisations and businesses to do so.
The promoters and fronts consistently avoid disclosing their connections with Universal Medicine, and their usual tactic is to introduce UM associates, products and services to businesses, community groups, and public institutions without disclosure of the controversies surrounding those, or their conflicts of interest.
There’s no question UM is a harmful cult. ‘Esoteric healing’ businesses that are pushing bogus esoteric therapies, the rip-off UM workshop habit, UM’s bogus practitioner ‘accreditation’ and UM’s anti-social beliefs, toxic health practices and advice, and other money for nothing products have to be exposed to protect the public. As do any of the health professionals promoting it, and any others responsible for intimidating victims, publishing UM’s misleading publications, or operating its deceptive fronts.
An example is the aggressive UM staff member who underhandedly had herself appointed as facilitator of a public and not for profit funded cancer support group and then systematically brought in UM practitioners to flog UM’s predatory commercial services and indoctrination to cancer patients. The same propagandist infiltrated a youth organisation and managed to get paid jobs – working with youth – for herself and her dishonest and nasty Benhayon promoting mates. It took considerable work, a number of notifications over several years, and eventually the court’s findings, to have her removed from those roles.
In some cases UM members have organised to attempt to take over management and board positions of organisations. They have then awarded jobs and contracts to their UM associates, often without proper approvals from management, and used organisational funds to pay their mates.
They have done these things for many years and have consistently created conflict and chaos.
A proposed template for notifications
Adapt as you like. This is legally sound as long as you don’t add allegations or descriptors you can’t prove.
1. Introduce your concerns about the person(s) or group’s association with UM and their promotion of UM (or its associates etc.) in that workplace or organisation. (Eg. this person is a public promoter of Universal Medicine.)
2. Include a paragraph introducing UM. It’s an ‘esoteric healing’ corporation owned and led by Serge Benhayon which the Supreme Court of NSW found to be a ‘socially harmful cult’. The court found 36 serious allegations about UM and its leader were proven true. Pick out a few of the most relevant ones to include in your letter and maybe add a link to the UM Wikipedia page or to the news reports page.
3. Attach a copy of the judgment in Benhayon v Rockett. Explain that it was a defamation case brought in 2015 by Serge Benhayon against blogger Esther Rockett which went to a six week trial in September 2018. (Download from this link https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/5c772e44e4b0196eea404c09#. I would also attach a copy of the list of allegations proven true.
4. Request that the person or people you’re complaining about make a formal undertaking to refrain from:
◊ promoting to clients/members/staff any Universal Medicine associated belief, practice, product, service, event, person, business or organisation; and
◊ referring any co-worker, client, patient, member (whatever is applicable) to any Universal Medicine related practitioner, business or event.
5. Alternatively, request that the person undertake to disclose whenever they plan to introduce anything or anyone UM associated in the future. Request that management conduct a risk assessment as part of the approval process.
6. Request that, in the interests of transparency, the person make full disclosure of any UM belief, practice, product, service or associated person that he or she has promoted, endorsed or introduced to the workplace or organisation, or any of its clients, patients, members or co-workers.
7. Raise that you have concerns about the risks of exposing members/clients/patients or co-workers to Universal Medicine and its associates. Or the risk of reputational damage to the organisation of any relationship with UM, or the risk that the organisation is or could be used to advance the interests of Universal Medicine. You might ask how that risk will be managed.
8. Provide information demonstrating the person has promoted UM, its fronts or associates at the workplace or organisation in question, or using the workplace or org in question to do so. Brochures, flyers, dates, names. (If your concerns are about a front, you might need to provide documents showing how that front is linked to UM.)
9. Provide information demonstrating the UM promoter’s links with UM. Website links, esoteric practitioner listings, copies of blogs, Facebook posts etc. are helpful, or any other documents that establish a business or ideological relationship between the promoter and UM, and show them promoting Benhayon or UM. It’s good to provide PDF copies of those. (In your browser select File > Print > Save as PDF)
It is then up to the organisation’s management to act in the best interests of workers, members, students, patients, clients or the public.
It’s important that you keep the requests reasonable and your notifications factual, accurate and backed by documentation. You won’t be taken seriously if you come across as irrational or prejudiced, or if your grievance comes across as a personal attack. You also can’t demand action that infringes on a person’s legal rights.
♦ If you’re making complaints to regulators it helps to cite the rule or law or code that has been breached.
♦ Use your name and provide your address and phone number. Anonymous notifications go nowhere.
♦ For workplaces and other large organisations I find it useful to address these notifications to upper rung management as well as local management.
♦ If you’re doing a notification to a venue that’s hosting UM, you could cut the above down to steps 1-3 and 9.
♦ Where there are strong risks to vulnerable people and/or where public money is involved, it helps to approach some community leaders or public representatives to support your complaint. It’s best to address the correct jurisdiction or legislature (state, federal, local government). Eg. If it’s about UM activities in schools it needs to go to the school principal. If they don’t take it seriously, approach the education department, the state Minister for Education and your state MP.
♦ Minimise risk of being sued for defamation. Don’t make allegations unless you can back them with witnesses or documents and be careful of the language you use to describe people or behaviours. So rather than calling someone a cultist or a cult member, you can refer to UM as a cult (a proven fact) and the person as a ‘promoter’ or ‘associate’. You’ll then provide documentation establishing that person is a UM or Benhayon promoter or associate. That should be sufficient to get action taken.
Most organisations will act when notified that UM has been proven in court to be an anti-social organisation. They won’t want people promoting it within their ranks.
If you need advice on how to do any of the above, post your questions in the comments below.
My role in UM accountability in future
Since the trial, questions are being asked in the media and by some community leaders about why so little action was taken. As far as I’m concerned, I did everything I could.
I investigated UM since 2012, published masses of exposure online and made numerous complaints to all the relevant authorities. I notified numerous community organisations, educational institutions and public representatives. As a result I was harassed for years and ended up having to defend my publications in court. I quit my former career, all my assets are gone, I worked full time on my defences on minimal income, went into debt and went bankrupt. I’ve done enough.
In winning my case I’ve paved the way for everyone to be able to speak freely about Universal Medicine’s harms. UM was proven in court to be a ‘socially harmful cult’ that engages in misleading conduct. No one can threaten a person for stating those facts or any of the allegations proven true.
I have recently updated the Naming Names, Fronts and news reports pages and I’ve just put in a huge amount of work providing information to two investigations. Please be aware that the authorities do not go out looking for UM’s victims. If victims don’t come forward and make complaints it’s not possible for authorities to take proper action.
It’s not fair to expect me to continue doing what all of you are capable of doing yourselves. You need to assume that no one is going to do it for you.
Transparency, accountability and tolerance – getting the balance right
I’ve seen and heard some concerning comments since the jury made its decision. A person said that UM associates should not be permitted to run businesses from properties that are owned by Ballina Council. Another person suggested they could make a dishonest statement to a regulatory authority to trigger an investigation.
Statements like that won’t get any support from me. The objective of my efforts was to minimise harm. It needs to be done carefully. We have to target misconduct, but at the same time avoid infringing on the rights of people honestly carrying out legitimate and benign activities.
There is nothing wrong with a person running a shop or a café or a poodle parlour or whatever. There is nothing wrong with a person taking part in community initiatives or being on the school P&C etc. As long as those doing so are not engaging in anti-social or disreputable behaviour or promoting UM or its ‘esoteric’ products, ideologies and activities or seeking to introduce others to UM or its associates.
An example is Simone Benhayon’s swim school. If Simone and staff are just teaching kids to swim, and not pushing Esoteric products, services or events on them, there’s no reason for anyone to avoid her business. She’s probably a pretty good swim teacher. Just make sure she and her associates are not trying to involve kids or unwary members of the public in UM related crap. At the same time, in my opinion, her deep involvement in an anti-social corporation makes her an inappropriate person to be a governor at local primary schools.
Minimising harm cuts both ways
If we fail to check the reliability of our information, or make unreasonable demands or alienate people over behaviours that can’t or don’t do any harm, we only discredit ourselves and our cause.
Like UM did to themselves. They were consistently ejected from organisations for misconduct. UM’s propagandists also misrepresented our concerns. They portrayed exposure of their misconduct and our requests for them to behave transparently and accountably as ‘lies’, ‘religious persecution’, ‘abuse’ and ‘bullying’. That’s how they justified masses of publications personally slurring me and others, including one website with ten pages dedicated to discrediting my business and my professional skills. My livelihood had nothing to do with my campaign or the concerns I raised.
UM supporters are within their rights to earn an honest living, and to exercise their rights to free speech, freedom of belief and freedom to participate in the wider community as long as doing so does not infringe on the rights of others. As we all are. What none of us are entitled to do is mislead, exploit, rip off and bully others, or to do anything that endangers children. Like UM does.
You are within your rights to take reasonable action to prevent UM associates from exploiting others or infiltrating organizations for that purpose. You are within your rights to avoid their businesses or criticise their statements if they’re saying things that are unreasonable or untrue. You are within your rights to take legal or criminal action against them if they have done you harm. But I won’t support anyone who treats people the way UM has treated ‘detractors’ – dishonestly, irrationally and with unjustifiable aggression.
Also remember that there are children involved in UM who don’t have a choice – so please be discreet when talking about UM in front of your kids. We don’t want kids going to school and making life more difficult for children who, if they’re not already neglected and confused, are having to contend with unusually irrational family members.
Opening an escape route
If we’re serious about minimising harm, we want to encourage UM followers having doubts to find their way out. Reckless antagonism towards UM followers risks reinforcing Benhayon’s ‘us vs them’ sales pitch and is only likely to drive them further in.
If you need help with family court proceedings – as in challenges to wills made to Serge/UM or to protect children from the cult, please contact me directly.
If you have questions, please post them here, not on Facebook where they get lost and I have to waste time repeating myself. You can post anonymously or using a pseudonym. Also please stay on topic on this post. It’s not a gossip post. Trot over to the other blog if you want to comment on other UM stuff.