Tuesday, August 7, 2012

letter to Ruth Harley 8th August 2012

Ruth Harley
Chief Executive
Screen Australia
Level 4
150 William St.
Woolloomooloo 2011                                                                                    8th August 2012

Dear Ruth

My only reason for filing a Statement of Claim with the Supreme Court of NSW on 16th July was to get Screen Australia to identify and/or release the documents in which you claim I have intimidated, harassed and placed Screen Australia staff at risk. I was expecting Screen Australia Screen would identify a particular email or letter, a particular phrase, sentence or even one word that could be construed to be intimidating, harassing or placing staff at risk. Instead, Screen Australia has sent me copies of almost all of the correspondence I have sent the organization this past few years! If all this correspondence is to be entered by Screen Australia as evidence in the Supreme Court it will be a very long trial indeed.

There is one lot of correspondence that I have not been sent as a result of my FOI request. I quote from my email to Nick Coyle of 16th March 2012.
I have another FOI request – most definitely the oddest I have ever made and, I suspect, the oddest one you will ever have to deal with. It is for a document (or documents) that do not exist. Let me explain:

In Nov 2010 Fiona Cameron wrote a letter to me that included the following assertion:

“Unfortunately it appears from your correspondence that you came away from that meeting with an understanding that your application for further funding for Chanti’s World had been effectively green lit. This is not the case. Nor could it be.”

For 16 months I have asked Fiona to produce the correspondence she refers to. She has not done so. This is not surprising because it does not exist. Not only does Fiona know it does not exist but so too do Ruth Harley and Glen Boreham. And the Commonwealth Ombudsman would have discovered that it did not exist also if he had bothered to ask Fiona Cameron to produce it. He did not. He simply accepted Fiona’s word (implicit in her letter) that it existed! As I say, a sense of humour is necessary in this age of transparency and accountability we live in!

There is, I suppose, the possibility that at some moment in 2010, having taken temporary leave of my senses, I did write the correspondence  that Fiona is referring to and, amnesia being a component of my addled state at the time,  have completely forgotten that I did so. So, in order to find out if such correspondence exists, what better way than to call upon the services of Screen Australia’s FOI officer with my strange request – for a document that I claim does not exist! If it does exist I will have egg all over my face and may well need to plead insanity. If it does not exist, Fiona has some explaining to do and an apology to make.

As you know, Ruth, this correspondence Fiona referred to in Nov 2010 does not exist, as will emerge in the Supreme Court. As for Screen Australia’s legal counsel arguing that all of my correspondence this past few years places Screen Australia staff at risk, this will, I think, be a tall order for even the most accomplished of Barristers. At risk of what? And in what way intimidating?

The one part of your assertion that Screen Australia’s legal counsel might have some luck with is the word ‘harassing’ – if, that is, my continuing to ask questions that Screen Australia refuses to answer is a form of harassment. If my repeatedly asking Fiona Cameron and yourself to identify correspondence that I claim does not exist constitutes harassment, I am guilty as charged. However, if I did not persist in my asking the false assertions that both you and Fiona have made would remain on file and have deleterious effect on my reputation.

If Screen Australia wishes to leave it up to the Supreme Court to determine the existence on non-existence of correspondence, so be it. This strikes me being a dreadful waste of time, energy and financial resources. And it will yield the same result as would be achieved by your self, Fiona and myself sitting around a table with an independent Conciliator – as I suggested months ago. At such a meeting you could produce the correspondence you both refer to in justification of Screen Australia’s banning of me. And Fiona could produce the correspondence I have been asking her t produce or identify for 18 months now. If correspondence exists in which I intimidate, harass and place at risk members of Screen Australia staff, I owe these staff an apology at the very least and my banning is appropriate to the crime I have committed. If the correspondence does not exist, Screen Australia owes me an apology, in writing, and the lifting of the ban that has been placed on me.  

best wishes

James Ricketson

1 comment:

  1. James, you don't seem to understand that you never ever take on an organization like Screen Australia in public regardless of how strong your case is. It's a lose/lose scenario for anyone who criticizes the heavies who run such organizations - especially when they have a well resourced legal department that can make mince meat of you in court - as they probably will if you do not have a shit-hot barrister.