A Newcastle blogger has been fined $2500 for posting a video online labelling a Sydney gay rights activist a “child-molesting faggot”.
John Sunol, 60, was ordered by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal yesterday to pay $2500 to Garry Burns, 61, who claimed he had been the victim of homosexual vilification in January last year.
Despite Mr Sunol telling the tribunal he removed the video, it was on YouTube last night.
Mr Burns, who had sought $5000, said the five-minute video was online for weeks and amounted to unlawful homosexual vilification.
In the video, “Message to Garry Richard Burns over my $55,000 Debt”, the former cab driver protested against attempts by Mr Burns to enforce a judgment debt for a separate anti-discrimination complaint, labelling his claims “hyped-up rubbish”.
Since the video was posted, Mr Burns, who described himself as a “public-interest litigant’’, said he had received threatening phone calls: “I have had people ring me up anonymously and make threats. My life is in danger and I can’t do anything about it.”
The tribunal noted he held a “genuine concern” for his safety as the comments could lead people to believe he was a pedophile and seek retribution.
Mr Sunol, a member of the Australian Christian Lobby, said the claim his video had upset Mr Burns was “disingenuous” and pleaded with the tribunal not to enforce a financial penalty.
The tribunal found Mr Sunol’s comments had the capacity to “incite hatred towards and serious contempt for Mr Burns on the ground of homosexuality”.