Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Curiouser and curiouser!
Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka with a dash of Monty Python!
Oh dear, there I was foolishly thinking that commonsense must surely prevail and that, at the last minute, someone would say to Ruth Harley:
“Release or identify the intimidating correspondence you claim Ricketson has written and which you have used as grounds to ban him.”
No such luck! Today, a letter from Screen Australia’s lawyers and a Notice of Motion to the Supreme Court of NSW seeking to have my entire Statement of Claim struck out – “pursuant to UCPR 13.4.” I have no idea what that means at this point but the last two points of Screen Australia’s Notice of Motion are crystal clear:
“The plaintiff to pay the defendants costs of the proceedings,”
“The plaintiff to pay the defendant’s costs of the motion.”
I am not a lawyer and nor do I have money to employ one so I have no idea whether I have a snowflake’s chance in hell of winning my defamation case in accordance with the law as practiced ‘pursuant to UCPR 13.4’. What I do know is this:
- Ruth Harley circulated a draft letter to the Screen Australia Board on 9th May in which she stated that I had intimidated and placed at risk members of her staff.
- I have not intimidated or placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff. Ruth Harley’s 9th May letter was defamatory. It damaged my reputation.
- On the basis of Ruth Harley’s false allegation of intimidation the Screen Australia Board banned me from having any further dealings with Screen Australia. It is close to impossible to make a film in this country without some Screen Australia involvement in film production – even if it is only via the ‘Producer’s Offset’.
As I have stated many times now, if I am guilty of having intimidated members of Screen Australia staff, of placing them at risk, I deserve to be banned. If I am not guilty I am owed an apology from Ruth Harley and the Screen Australia Board and for the ban to be lifted immediately.
If the Supreme Court decides to strike out my Statement of Claim on the grounds that I have not articulated my ‘Pleadings’ and ‘Particulars’ with the clarity a lawyer would bring to the task, so be it. I will not be paying Screen Australia’s costs and if Screen Australia decides to commence legal action to retrieve costs from me, so be it. I will not pay them unless or until Ruth Harley identifies the correspondence in which I have intimidated and placed at risk members of her staff.
As I have not been able to acquire copies of my allegedly intimidating correspondence from Screen Australia through Freedom of Information legislation, I am now trying to acquire copies through the office of the Ombudsman. If I am successful and if the correspondence reveals that I have intimidated anyone I will publish the correspondence online and accept my being banned as appropriate punishment.
That Ruth Harley and the Screen Australia Board can ban a filmmaker without presenting any evidence in support of the charges laid against him is astounding. But then again, perhaps not unexpected from an organization in which it is acceptable to Ruth Harley and the Board that the Chief Operating Officer Fiona Cameron is able to investigate and adjudicate complaints made about herself for having put in writing statements that are patently and demonstrably false.
Curiouser and curiouser!