Today will see a second hearing in the NSW Supreme Court in the defamation case taken out by the founder of Goonellabah based Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon, against Byron Bay blogger Esther Rockett.
The hearing will determine objections to Ms Rockett’s defence.
Mr Benhayon, whose group offers esoteric healing services and practitioner courses as well as esoteric women’s health modalities, claims his reputation was damaged by allegedly defamatory comments about his conduct with women and children, including hands-on healing practices.
Ms Rockett is a former Chinese Medicine practitioner who says she had personal experience of Benhayon and his workshops and practices in 2004 and 2005.
She commenced blogging about Universal Medicine in 2012.
Her defence has been partially crowdfunded and she is preparing to conduct the trial herself.
In Ms Rockett’s legal defence she has argued that some comments were not defamatory of the plaintiff, or if they were she is entitled to the benefit of various legal defences including ‘contextual truth’, ‘qualified privilege’, ‘honest opinion’ or ‘fair comment’.
She says she will argue she was replying to attacks from the UM community on reasonable grounds and her readers had an interest in UM as well as her replies and views.
Ms Rockett has served a notice of her intention to elect trial by jury.