FORMER Newcastle taxi driver John Sunol has been ordered to refrain from re-publishing material vilifying homosexuals on any website after he was again dragged before the Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Sydney gay rights activist Gary Burns took Mr Sunol to the tribunal over comments posted on his blog in March last year and another person’s comments in relation to same sex marriage which were endorsed by Mr Sunol.
The offending material related to comments by Mr Sunol that included: ‘‘Gay marriage equality makes it even more easier for paedophiles to gain access to their child victims’’ and ‘‘gay marriage is child abuse’’. The other comments read: ‘‘Rape little boys, this is same sex marriage. If you want this, sit back in your armchair and let the homosexual lobby push for same sex marriage. This is the end results of same sex marriage. Sit back and enjoy yourself whilst this goes on.’’
Mr Burns made three complaints to the tribunal that the publication of certain material on Mr Sunol’s website constituted homosexual vilification in breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.
In a judgment published on Thursday, the tribunal found the first two complaints were substantiated and the third was partly substantiated.
‘‘The target of this publication is parties to same sex marriage, namely homosexual men or women,’’ one extract from the judgment reads.
‘‘The language is strong and abusive and imputes serious criminal conduct. In our view, the words used have the capacity to urge and prompt hatred towards, serious contempt for or severe ridicule of both parties to a same sex marriage on the ground of their homosexuality among ordinary internet users at large.’’
The judgment stated Mr Burns did not seek damages or an apology and instead asked if Mr Sunol would not republish statements via his blog that were harmful to homosexual women and men.
Mr Sunol told the tribunal the offending material had been removed from his website. But Mr Burns alleged Mr Sunol often removes offending statements only to later republish them.
A FORMER taxi driver who was the subject of 17 complaints in seven years including allegations that he fell asleep at the wheel and defecated outside Newcastle Airport has failed to have his licence reinstated.
John Sunol told the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal that most of the complaints were false and were made by people out to get him including gay rights activist Garry Burns.
Mr Sunol drove taxis in Newcastle from 2003 until 2012 with periods of suspension in between.
During that time he was the subject of a number of investigations by Roads and Maritime Services including one where Sunol made a number of comments about gays and Muslims to two undercover agents who caught his cab.
The most serious allegations against Mr Sunol were that he fell asleep at the wheel at a set of lights, that he was in an ‘‘agitated’’ state outside Newcastle Airport one day after ‘‘appearing to have defecated himself’’ and making inflammatory comments about religions and homosexuals.
As well as appealing to have his taxi drivers licence reinstated, Mr Sunol also applied for a bus driver’s licence, but this was also refused.
Mr Sunol told the tribunal that, ‘‘His past difficulties had been a result of being framed and of having been victimised because of his engagement in local politics.’’
The tribunal ruled that Mr Sunol was not of good repute and was not a fit and proper person to hold such licences.
The tribunal noted that Mr Sunol had been pursued numerous times for making derogatory comments about homosexuals and religious groups and that he had continued to make such comments online in breach of tribunal orders.
‘‘He could not be trusted to behave appropriately in private with passengers when he was unable to do this in the public sphere with his blogging,’’ the tribunal noted.
‘‘He could not be trusted in the confines of the taxi cab or a bus. Passengers should not be subjected to Mr Sunol’s views.’’