Blogger ordered to remove ‘hate speech’ against member of small religious order

A NSW-based blogger has been ordered to take down material from his site that described a small and mysterious religious order as a “satanic paedophile cult”. A Canberra tribunal found that the material was archetypal hate speech.

In January last year, David Bottrill complained to the ACT Human Rights Commission that he had been discriminated against because of his membership of the Ordo Templi Orientis.
He said blogger John Sunol operated a number of sites which had publicly vilified him on the basis of his religious conviction.
Mr Bottrill said the allegations made against him and the organisation were all untrue.

In the complaint, which was referred to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Mr Bottrill said he wanted the pages removed and an apology. He later also asked for compensation.

In a decision published last month, the tribunal describes the blog posts as asserting that the Ordo Templi Orientis is a “satanic paedophile cult”, and that they had a picture of Mr Bottrill next to that description.

“In addition, ‘child rape’ and ‘boy murder’ are words used to describe [Mr Bottrill] and adherents of the OTO,” the tribunal said.

The tribunal found against the blogger and ordered he remove the posts and refrain from publishing similar content in the future.

Mr Bottrill did have the religious conviction he had described, the tribunal said, and Mr Sunol’s blog content would “incite, among other responses, hatred and contempt towards [Mr Bottrill]”.

“The acts ascribed to him and his religion were written in totally undisciplined language and with no attempt to provide any evidence that might warrant such claims. To use the vernacular, it is archetypal hate speech,” tribunal Senior Member Bryan Meagher SC said.

“As Mr Sunol, himself, said, ‘We all have our own rights to our beliefs and own religions, our own areas of theological belief. Mr Bottrill has his rights. I have my rights’.”

At the hearing, Mr Bottrill said the Ordo Templi Orientis was about 100 years old and that it had been created out of a collection of Masonic rights in Europe.

“Since about 1912 it’s been the main vehicle for promoting the religion of Thelema … It’s a religion based on revelations given to and then published by Aleister Crowley.”

The tribunal heard there were probably about 100 members of the order in Australia at any one time.

The tribunal referred to an earlier decision in a separate matter involving Mr Bottrill in which a Professor Douglas Ezzy from the University of Tasmania described the order as a small religious movement modelled on Freemasonry.

Professor Ezzy, a member of the Contemporary Pagan Studies Group and the American Academy of Religion, said he thought it was “extremely unlikely” that child sacrifice, paedophilia and cannibalism were “systemic or organisationally organised aspect” of the order.

Mr Sunol told the tribunal he did not write the offending post and therefor should not be held responsible. He said he took it down as soon as he became aware of it. He said he could not apologise to Mr Bottrill because he was a pentecostal Christian.

He also said the site had about 2400 hits a day and told the tribunal he was bankrupt, agreeing that he was immune from orders for the payment of money.

Mr Sunol eventually took the content down after Mr Bottrill contacted him.

Burns lodges police complaint over ACON drug booklet

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sydney activist GARY BURNS has lodged an official complaint with NSW Police over a ‘how to take illegal drugs’ booklet produced by ACON (formerly known as the AIDS Council of NSW).

As reported by News Ltd newspapers this morning, the taxpayer-funded ACON booklet “Routes of Administration” is available for anyone to download at ACON’s website.

It gives specific and detailed information on techniques for taking drugs by numerous means including injecting, snorting and shafting (insertion of drugs into the anus).

Mr Burns today sent a written complaint to NSW Police, asking the constabulary to investigate ACON for breaching the NSW Criminal Code.

“I have today written to NSW Police Commissioner ANDREW SCIPIONE asking him to assign detectives to investigate ACON over their how to take drugs booklet,” said Mr Burns.

“It is my belief that this booklet encourages people to undertake illegal acts and is therefore itself illegal.

“As a concerned community member, I want to see ACON investigated to see if the organisation has broken any laws. I believe it has because ACON is aiding and abetting illegal drug use.”

Mr Burns said that while he supported harm minimisation methods, “Routes of Administration” went beyond that and actually encouraged people to break the law.

“ACON are trying to present this as harm minimisation when it’s not,” he said.

“Harm minimisation would involve giving this information to known drug users as part of a drug counselling programme, under supervision and with ongoing contact.

“That’s not what this is. This booklet is available for anyone to download from ACON’s website or can be picked up from ACON’s foyer, no questions asked.

“There is nothing to stop 13, 14, 15-year-old kids from picking it up or downloading it, trying the suggestions in the booklet and killing themselves.

“This is a very serious matter because if some kid tries the methods suggested by ACON, they might not be coming home for dinner.

“There won’t any need for you as a parent to set a place at the dinner table if your kid has overdosed on drugs and is laying stone motherless cold in a body bag in the morgue.

“Charges should be laid over this, and I think it would also be prudent to send the drug detection dogs around to ACON and give the place a thorough comb-over,” Burns concluded.

Burns’ call for police intervention follows several weeks of high-profile scandals for ACON, including the revelation in Fairfax newspapers last week that ACON spends only $819,872 of its $12,638,998 million budget (6.4 per cent) on its raison d’être – programs and services for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans community.



Finely chop powder, alternate nostrils says taxpayer-funded guide (News Ltd article):

Row over HIV health cash (Fairfax):

ACON’s “Routes of Administration” drug booklet:

ACON’s 2009/10 Financial Report:

Gary Burns
(02) 9363 0372
0407 910 309!/garyburnsblog