Thursday, September 27, 2012

final letter to Screen Australia Board

Screen Australia Board
Level 4, 150 William St
NSW 2011                                                                                                      28th Sept. 2012

Dear Members of the Screen Australia Board

When I wrote to you yesterday it seemed as though my pre-sale for ‘Chanti’s World’ had fallen through as a result of your ban. As it happens, the international broadcaster (a major player in the world of documentary) is still interested in providing me with a pre-sale that would make it possible for me to access Screen Australia funds. It seems the broadcaster is unaware of the Screen Australia ban that would render its pre-sale irrelevant in real terms. Just how long the broadcaster can remain in ignorance of the Screen Australia fatwa remains to be seen!

The pre-sale for ‘Chanti’s World’ is one that I started talking with the broadcaster about in Sept last year. This is a documentary that I have been self-funding for 16 or 17 years now and which Screen Australia has not invested one cent in. If the Board is really determined to kill off this pre-sale there is not much I can do about it but I do hope that you do so in the absence of any doubt at all about my guilt of the crime I have been charged and found guilty of – intimidation and placing SA staff at risk! If it were not for the ramifications for my own career, this would be laughable. How can correspondence place someone at risk – unless, of course, the correspondence contains threats, real or implied. Perhaps Elizabeth Grinston can find some implied threats in my correspondence but I challenge any normal person (without a double degree in Law and Spin) to find even one phrase that is threatening.

The other aspect of this dispute that should (I believe) be of concern to you all is that Screen Australia (at some considerable expense, I imagine) is going to defend the defamation suit I have brought against Ruth Harley in the Supreme Court of NSW. One does not need to be a lawyer to know that publishing a document (the draft 9th May letter to yourselves) in which the Plaintiff is accused of intimidation and placing SA staff at risk is defamatory. Unless, that is, the accusation is based on fact; is true. If it is true, if I am guilty of intimidation, I will clearly lose my case. If it is not true (which I maintain) SA stands a very good chance of losing – if, that is, Screen Australia’s counsel does not succeed, on Tuesday 2nd. Oct, in having the matter dismissed on the grounds that I have not articulated my ‘pleadings’ and ‘Particulars’ as well as I might have if I had legal representation.

As I have stated countless times now, there would be no need for this matter to be heard in the Supreme Court if Ruth Harley were to release – to yourselves, to me – the correspondence (or extracts thereof) in which it is clear that I have intimidated her staff and placed them at risk. If I have, my being banned is appropriate and having the matter heard in the Supreme Court is a waste of time, energy and money. If I am not guilty the same applies – a waste of time, energy and money. All that would be required is that the ban be lifted and that the Board apologize for its mistake in banning me in the first place.

best wishes

James Ricketson

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