I am glad I am not the only one annoyed by the media treatment of Vince Siemer, which has him and his wife trying to make themselves victims when in fact Seimer is running a campaign of harrasment and is the bully not the victim in my opinion. Not that I am a fan of his victim either – but that doesn’t mean Michael Stiassny doesn’t have rights.
Siemer is comparing himself to a Jew being persecuted by the Nazis:
Siemer, who is defending himself, said in his submissions that by denying him freedom of speech the courts were heading onto a slippery slope towards denial of other rights.
“Today it is freedom of speech, tomorrow it’s much worse,” Siemer said.
He said courts in Nazi Germany had denied Jews their legal rights under due process, and that no courts should use process to deny justice.
Now shouldn’t someone like me be supporting the rights of someone to say what they want on their website? Well no. Let us turn to Steven Price for some useful facts on the case:
I’m afraid I find it difficult to get too worked up about Vince’s plight. He’d like to pitch his troubles as a freedom of expression battle against a corrupt businessman (his nemesis, Michael Stiassny), and corrupt lawyers (including his own), and corrupt judges (pretty much anyone who’s ruled against him, in a couple of dozen court hearings). But what it’s really about is his ongoing and flagrant refusal to comply with court orders.
Just because you do not like a court order is not grounds to rfuse to obey them. You appeal if you do not like them – but he has lost pretty much every case in his two dozen hearings.
Note that the injunction is an interim one. It’s in place pending the final determination of the defamation case. If Siemer can prove that his allegations are true, he will be able to reinstate the banned content. The courts generally do not grant this sort of injunction in defamation cases. They only did so here because two High Court judges were convinced that there was no basis for Siemer’s allegations:
Justice France: Having assessed the evidence, I conclude this is one of those exceptional cases where the Court can say that there is no reasonable possibility of a defence of truth succeeding in relation to any allegations of criminal or unethical conduct or as to improper personal enrichment.
Steven also usefully points out:
He objects that he was tried “in absentia” – he was overseas at the time of the second trial. Which might be outrageous, except for the fact that he’d known about the hearing date, hadn’t filed any documents, hadn’t engaged legal counsel, and had simply emailed the court to say he wouldn’t be making it. They said he needed to formally apply for a different date. He didn’t.
I do wish the traditional media would provide context like this. Those who do not read blogs would have a very different impression.