This last week has been a time of tough decisions. A time when I had to make a choice between pursuing justice in the courts or cutting my losses and pulling out of what I saw as a totally biased system where the cards are stacked against me – not because of a lack of evidence but simply because of a perceived bias against my stance on a political and scientific issue.
I chose to withdraw my Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) appeal against Peter Bowditch and, true to form, the skeptics and SAVN have been making false statements about my reason for doing so to members of the media – statements which I believe require a response.
Let me preface this by saying that these cases were initiated by me personally. They are not AVN matters, though I believe it is my involvement with the AVN which has influenced the courts against me, causing them to be decided on the personal preconceived opinions of the magistrates involved, rather than on the merits and the evidence presented.
A bit of history
Last year, at the suggestion of police in two NSW jurisdictions, I filed three separate APVOs: against Daniel Raffaele, founder of Stop the AVN (SAVN), Peter Bowditch, committee member of the Australian Skeptics and Dan Buzzard, WA member of SAVN.
I could have filed APVOs against many more SAVN members. So many have threatened and harassed me, as well as inciting others to do me harm, but these were the three whom I considered to be the ‘ringleaders’ – whose abuse and harassment were unremitting. My reasons for taking this action were two-fold
1- To stop them from continuing their criminal campaign of abuse, harassment and threats against me; and
2- To send a warning to others that the justice system would protect someone who was being openly abused, harassed and threatened.
My family and I were living in great fear that one of these individuals would either harm us or would incite someone else in the community to do so. I had no funds for legal advice but I was told by the police that applying for an APVO would be straightforward and simple, so I proceeded to make the application. At no time did they inform me that they themselves could have applied for the APVO. Had they done so, I would have insisted that they do it and a whole lot of time, heartache and expense could have been saved.
Simple and Straightforward
At the time I first applied, I had no idea that the ensuing process would be incredibly slow, outrageously expensive to me – the victim of this abuse – and a total waste of time.
I admit I have become jaded over the years regarding the expectation of fair treatment from our bureaucracy. However I still believed it was possible to get justice from the courts, and that magistrates would pass judgment without allowing their personal preconceived biases to interfere. I was a babe in the woods in that regard.
It is my firmly held belief, based on the evidence from both cases that actually went to trial, that my losses had nothing to do with the evidence presented to the courts. Based on that evidence alone – APVOs should have been granted without question. But both magistrates showed a strong disapproval for the work that I have done for the last 20 years with the AVN and I feel that they were unable to separate Meryl Dorey the mother, woman and victim of institutionalised and long-running abuse, from Meryl Dorey, ex-President of the AVN and vaccine rights advocate.
Just a clarifying note at this point for those who are unaware of my case against Daniel Raffaele: the APVO against him was granted without his making any admissions of wrongdoing even though threatening calls to my home were made from his house in the middle of the night. I was advised to accept these terms rather than going to trial. In retrospect, I think I made the right choice since even with the damning evidence against him, I am unsure that the courts would have granted my application had Raffaele opposed it.
SAVN Untruths and a complicit media
To make matters worse, however, SAVN and the Australian Skeptics are now using my withdrawal from the case against Peter Bowditch as an admission that I only took these actions in order to silence my critics.
Their excuse for saying this is based on a lie and they know it is based on a lie yet they continue to state it anyway.
When I went to the courthouse last year to make the initial applications, I selected several of the standard orders from the list available (orders which limited the perpetrator’s ability to come near me or enter my property or threaten me). I also asked that they not be allowed to mention me in any online forum in a derogatory manner. At the initial mention in Ballina Courthouse almost a year ago, the magistrate said that he did not have the power to grant the latter order and I agreed to withdraw it. All I was asking the court to do was to prevent them from coming near me or physically threatening me. None of that would in any way ‘silence’ them.
Having since spoken with a solicitor about this, I have been told that there was no problem with my asking for these latter orders because my intention was to stop them from inciting others to commit violence against me or to join in harassing, abusing or stalking me as they and their cohorts had done for some time. My wording was the only issue and this became a moot point since that order was removed before either hearing.
Dan Buzzard and Peter Bowditch are perfectly aware that this is the case – but they have continued to mislead the media – and the media have continued to print whatever they are told about me – stating that I only took out these APVOs in order to silence my opposition.
In fact, during the time when these cases were still before the courts, sub judice reports were appearing in the media to the effect that taking away my opposition’s right to free speech was the only reason I made these applications.
In addition to this and in a move that can only be called bizarre, Greens Senator Richard Di Natale stood up in Federal Parliament and stated that these applications were only being made to silence my opposition and he thanked two of the three perpetrators by name for their ‘work’ in this regard!
Decisions based on fact or bias
It is my belief that the magistrate in my case against Dan Buzzard may have used this misinformation in his decision since he did refer to media reports when making his summation. In fact, he criticised me openly many times during the hearing to the point where I was relieved to only have to pay $11,000 in court costs – at one point, I had the distinct impression that I was going to be sent to gaol. I do not remember him sanctioning Dan Buzzard even once despite his admissions to having asked people to send me violent pornography.
I am currently awaiting delivery of the transcripts from these cases and when I have received them, I will be updating everyone with exactly what occurred and why I feel that there were grave errors not only in law but also in fact which led to these adverse decisions.
Freedom of speech
If by silencing my opposition, SAVN and the Australian Skeptics mean that I wanted to stop them threatening, harassing and stalking me as they have done for so long and prevent them from inciting others to do the same, then I admit that’s what I was trying to do.
If however, they mean that I want to take away their freedom of speech – their ability to engage in respectful and non-threatening debate on this or any other issue, I’m afraid they are completely wrong.
Because I welcome that debate. I have asked for it publicly – over and over again. I support freedom of speech 100% and in fact, have been lobbying to have an Australian Bill of Rights introduced to codify this right and the right to other freedoms which most democratic nations take for granted but which, shamefully, do not exist in Australia.
This is not a matter for question – it is and has been my stance in public and in private for 20 years now.
It is SAVN and their members – including Daniel Raffaele, Dan Buzzard and Peter Bowditch, who are the ones trying to silence their opposition. And they do it over and over again.
- In the initial complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC), SAVN member Ken McLeod asked that the HCCC issue a Prohibition Order against me using their powers under the Health Care Complaints Act 1993. He asked that this order be used to stop both myself and the AVN from publicly discussing the issues surrounding vaccination.
- The purpose and reason why Stop the AVN exists is to silence the AVN, our members and anyone who openly asks scientific and legitimate questions about this medical procedure. It is their goal to take away our freedom of speech and to remove our inalienable rights to both question and make informed choices on this subject.
- SAVN Supporter and head of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Steve Hambleton, stood on the steps of NSW Parliament not long ago stating that any individual or group who criticises vaccination should be subject to punishment.
- Greens Senator, SAVN supporter and doctor Richard di Natale proposed and passed a motion in Federal Parliament stating that the AVN should be disbanded simply because he disagreed with our viewpoint on the issue of vaccination.
- SAVN members, including Dan Buzzard, Daniel Raffaele and Peter Bowditch have written to venues where I was booked to present seminars, requesting that they stop me from speaking there. They have also contacted media outlets asking them not to interview me, and filed complaints against those who have allowed me the right to comment on vaccine-related issues.
These people are truly guilty of using bureaucracy and the media to silence their opposition.
All I asked was that the courts protect me from these abusers who had openly threatened and harassed me. This is a protection that should be available to all Australian citizens and residents – indeed – to everyone in every country around the world. It is a basic human right which, thanks to what I consider to be the bias of the courts, was denied me in these cases.
Please note: I have sent a copy of this blog post to Jane Hansen of the Daily Telegraph and the Murdoch media. She had contacted me because she plans on writing a story for Sunday’s paper about my APVO applications. I hope that, having set the record straight, her article will cover this issue fairly and truthfully.