Judge orders spiritual guru to produce pics of ‘hands on’ healing
Defamation June 21, 2018 10:59 pm By Cat Fredenburgh | Melbourne

A judge has ordered a self-described spiritual healer to produce pictures of the “hands on” esoteric healing technique he practices, in a defamation suit over blog posts that allegedly imply he’s a cult leader and sexual predator.

Self-styled complementary healing practitioner Serge Benhayon is suing Esther Rockett over 21 allegedly defamatory blog posts which he claims imply he’s a cult leader and sexual predator who preys on cancer patients and dishonestly promotes ideas of karma for self-gain, among other alleged imputations.

Benhayon practices what he describes as a “hands-on complementary healing technique” called Esoteric Healing and teaches a way of living called “Universal Medicine” and “The Way of The Livingness”, which he operates under his Universal Medicine business.

 

In a ruling published Thursday, Justice McCallum ordered Benhayon to produce photographs in his possession that display the “hands on” healing technique.

“I accept the defendant’s submission that the technique of the plaintiff’s practice of so-called ‘hands-on esoteric healing’ is at the core of the issues raised in these proceedings. Photographs will provide the most cogent basis for assessing the legitimacy or appropriateness of such techniques as a method of healing,” Justice Lucy McCallum said.

Benhayon argued the request was “irrelevant and oppressive”.

The judge also ordered Benhayon to produce videos of workshops or sessions related the technique of “Deeper Femaleness” that he teaches.

Benhayon was ordered to produce a list of donations received, tax returns and financial statements, among other things. The judge shot down several other discovery requests, including one for documents related to other any complaints made about Benhayon by patrons and another for video footage of other group meetings.

Rockett, who attended several healing sessions and Universal Medicine events in 2004, has pleaded the defence of truth to most of the allegations.

According to Judge McCallum, since 2012 Rockett has “devoted her energies to investigating Universal Medicine and publishing her findings on her blog sites, ‘Universal Medicine Exposed’ and ‘Esther Rockett – Healthcare Activist’.”

Benhayon was represented by Kieran Smark SC with 5 Wentworth, Christopher Wilson with Level 16 Quay Central, and solicitors with Universal Law Cameron Bell & Associates

Rockett was represented by Tom Molomby SC with Frederick Jordan Chambers and solicitors with Goldsmiths Lawyers.

 

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Cat Fredenburgh

Cat Fredenburgh has been covering legal news for 12 years. She was previously Editor-in-Chief at US legal news publication Law360. She is the Co-Founder of Lawyerly.