My day in the Ipswich Court

10th March 2000, by Scott Balson

An overcast day greeted me as I arrived at the Ipswich Court house to face a Magistrate after being on bail for over eight months facing the charge of naming a Labor MP, Bill D'Arcy, on the Internet.

It was minutes after 9am when I entered Donna McCallum's court. She had just started hearing cases.

At about 9.15am my name was called and I stood facing the bench and explained that I would be representing myself because of the legal costs that I had born in the past from cases aborted because of the incompetence of the police..

Then I blacked out.

When I awoke on the courtroom floor the Magistrate had adjourned the case and the police prosecutor was in the process of calling for an ambulance as he stood beside me loosening my tie.

The media had scattered.

The image above was taken minutes after my collapse - after the ambulance had been cancelled and the court adjourned to 10am after I told prosecutor Ian Wright that I wanted to continue with the case on that day.

At 10am the first of the witnesses was called - her name was Melanie Wendt. Wendt is a reporter with Channel 9 News. Under cross-examination she confirmed that she had never seen the page on the screen - just a hard copy. She also said  under oath that copies of the "unlawful document" were being handed out by a member of the media to reporters the next day as they waited for D'Arcy to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

This is of, course, a clear breach of the act under which I had been charged.
Verbatim extract from the Court Transcript (65 pages)
Balson: Yes, I'd like to ask the witness firstly, did you view this page on-line on the Internet?

Wendt: I did not. No. We had someone else at work do that because I was in Court that morning.

Balson: And could I ask how you got a copy, that hard copy, was it faxed to your offices or?

Wendt: No there was a group of journalists had various copies at the Court that morning and everybody was distributed - well, everybody just had a look at it and made copies. We all made copies.

Next up was David Bullock from the Department of Public Prosecutions who said under oath that he had told my lawyers, Gilshenan and Luton, that The Courier-Mail was the complainant.
Verbatim extract from the Court Transcript
Balson: Is it true that you told my lawyer, Paul McCowan, on the 28th July last year that The Courier-Mail hd originated the complaint?"

Bullock: That's what Mr... yes, that's what Mr Miller had told me but I stress that's hearsay and  I don't know what the source of Mr Miller's information is.

Balson: So that is a fact?

Bullock: Well that's what I told him what Mr Miller told me.

Balson: Okay. And that came from the person in charge of the DPP?

Bullock: Yes.

Balson: That The Courier-Mail had laid the complaint?

Bullock: Yes. They'd made a complaint.

Balson: Okay. Thank you Your Honour, I just wanted to clarify that.

He said that the information who had come direct from his boss Royce Millar which is interesting because this is what Millar reportedly told The Courier-Mail in January this year:

Director of Public Prosecutions Royce Miller, QC, yesterday rejected a claim by a former One Nation webmaster that The Courier-Mail was responsible for him facing court.


Yesterday, Mr Miller, said he had only received a normal journalistic inquiry from The Courier-Mail, not a complaint.

He refused to be drawn into my question abut whether the DPP was politicised.

Next up was my arresting officer Leeanne Myers who confirmed that an "unauthorised" polaroid photograph had been taken of my chest while I was under her care. I cross-examined Myers as to why just political contacts that I had had been singled out and identified in my telephone records. She claimed that they hadn't but they had. It was there in the brief of evidence.

Myers clarified the position on the fax headers on the "unlawful document".

From what I can gather the following series of events took place. Following copies of the document being circulated by a member of the media to reporters (an illegal act). A reporter from AAP Brisbane Newsroom then faxed a copy to the legal firm of Robertson O'Gorman - who then faxed the document, as part of its complaint, to the DPP or Attorney-General on the 28th July. The police then got a copy of this which was included in my brief of evidence - but not reflected as such. I accept this as an accurate sequence of events.  

Police Officer Lisa Taylor, who had a lengthy sworn statement which included the point that she had collected a copy of the "unlawful document" from The Courier-Mail.

Under cross-examination she confirmed that she had been contacted by a person at the Courier-Mail and told that a copy of the "unlawful document" was waiting for her at security. She had gone there and picked it up.

I was able to view the document for the first time and noted that it was different from that in the brief of evidence with the fax headers.

Next was Freestone the police forensic computer man who described how he had taken a complete copy of my computer files. He said that they were still stored in the archives on a computer networked at his department and were freely available to any member of the staff there. When I asked him if he was aware that the files included sensitive One Nation files and information. He replied yes. Under cross-examination he told me that about 8 staff had access to them and no trace could be made if someone accessed them or hypothetically took a copy away on a floppy disk. he said that there had been a number of staff who had come and gone in the department since they had been stored there.

Verbatim extract from Court Transcript
Balson: Mr Freestone, as I was the One Nation webmaster were you aware that the files that you copied during the search included sensitive political information relating to the One Nation party?

Freestone: You mentioned that fact on the day that I was there, 30 July, you mentioned that to me and to the other investigators.

Balson: You were aware of that fact.

Freestone: You told me that. Yes.

Balson: Has anyone other than you had access to these files or been given a copy of any files copied by you?

Freestone: As part of our procedure when we copy that information from the hard disks we make a complete and full copy and we store that for back up purposes so that when we need to look at it again and again we've got that copy to refer to. But during the examination I was the only person that had access to the material at my unit.

Balson: You say "during the examination", where are those files now?

Freestone: They are archived and stored in our storage area.

Balson: Can anyone get access to them?

Freestone: Anybody in our unit can access them. They can....

Balson: So since July last year anybody in your unit in the police force could have access to sensitive One Nation documents?

Freestone: It's not in a ... okay.

Balson: Technically yes or no?

Freestone: Technically yes.

Balson: Okay. How many people in your unit are there?

Freestone: We have... it's constantly changing. I believe at the moment we have around seven or eight. Eight people.

Balson: And you say it's constantly changing? So people come into the unit and go out of the unit?

Freestone: We have people who have left and we have new staff coming on.

Balson: Is there any way of tracking who's actually been or looked at those records? Like with other police records?

Freestone: Tracking who has actually looked at the files? No.

Balson: So in other words anyone could have hypothetically looked at sensitive One Nation information, hypothetically copied it to a disk and...

Prosecutor Ian Wright interjecting... "Objection Your Worship."

Bench: We'll just let it go.

Balson: .... and hypothetically given it to someone else?

Freestone: Not as quite as simple as that but hypothetically yes. After going through quite a long process to get to that stage.

I was appalled and made that point clear to the Magistrate.

After the police prosecutor had summarised his case and asked for me to be found guilty the Magistrate broke for lunch.

At 2pm the case resumed. For the next hour and a half I gave a lengthy summing up of my defence. In my defence I demonstrated to the Magistrate that this case was highly politicised.

The example of the first witness, Melanie Wendt, who said that copies of the "unlawful document" were handed out to members of the media on the morning of the 28th July last year smacked of the greatest hypocrisy. This was the same dingoe pack who had speculated on my arrest while they had breached the same Act by participating in this!

(Note a transcript of the Court case is available from the Ipswich Magistrates Court - it will include my comments as reproduced below):

This is what I had to say about the Courier-Mail and the Government's involvement in the case:

Your Worship it is salient that I make the point that I was the One Nation party's webmaster at the time of my arrest on this charge. I believe, no I know, that my arrest was politically motivated.

What exacerbates the situation is the direct and, I believe, malicious involvement of The Courier-Mail which initiated the complaint against me. Since the publication of my book "Murder by Media, Death of Democracy in Australia" The Courier-Mail has embarked on a very personal campaign to denigrate me in the paper.

On the 27th July last year Sue Monk from The Courier-Mail lodged a complaint that I had breached section 7 of the Sexual Offences Act of 1978. Three days later on the 30th July last year I was arrested, then finger printed and photographed in the watch house on the charge of "unlawful documentation" I was then released on bail. After this arresting officer Ms Myers accompanied me to my home with other police and searched my house and office - taking a copy of my computer hard disk with them. The computer files contained sensitive material relating to my client - the One Nation party. These harsh actions by the police for a summary charge were, I believe, on the direct orders of the Attorney-General Matt Foley. Paul McCowan my solicitor remarked last year that he had never seen such overt action being taken on a case of this kind.

I wish to draw Your Worship's attention to the fact that The Courier-Mail carried a lengthy opinion piece by David Solomon on the day of my arrest justifying why I should be charged.

Your Worship, I am aware that this case is not so much about whether or not Bill D'Arcy was named on the Internet but more to do with being a test case on "publishing on the Internet". This fact is spelt out by The Courier-Mail in their article "Ethics and the Web" which was carried in The Monitor section just a few days ago on 26th February this year. It might surprise Your Worship, as it did me, that The Courier-Mail have already found me guilty before you can even rule on this case.

I have a copy of the article here for Your Worship to view. Here is the relevant extract:

Queensland web publisher Scott Balson is before the courts for illegally naming a prominent political figure on child sex charges during committal proceedings.

His site has also been criticised for anti-Semitic and anti-Asian comments, and several well-known people are preparing defamation actions against him.

State Attorney-General Matt Foley would not discuss Internet regulation this week but Opposition Spokesman Lawrence Springborg believes the Balson case is likely to be ground breaking.

This is likely to be a first as far as Internet publication goes and it's very interesting to see where that goes. If it can be easily proven that the item was published in Queensland on a Queensland server (from the state whose law it is alleged to have contravened) then the case would obviously have been stronger. This case will probably be viewed as precedent one way or another," he says.

Springborg says it is an extremely hard task to build a case for defamation.

"If information has appeared from somewhere it's very difficult - unless you can prove that that information was published, or placed on the Internet by a person in a certain place where they have certain defamation laws and it probably occurred on a server in that place. It its on an international server - it might be in the Bahamas - then it becomes more difficult, and hard to track it back.

"In the US, they've moved to indemnify Internet companies from defamation action and that's probably a sensible move because you can't expect them to vet all the material that's on their service."

Regulation is a nightmare because of the world-wide nature of the Web and the varying laws in different countries, states or jurisdictions.

Your Worship that Courier-Mail article spells out why the paper lodged the complaint against me. In fact, Your Worship, the only missing ingredient in this paper's hands-on involvement in this case is the fact that you, not the Editor of The Courier-Mail, are judging this case even though I believe that their coverage of it in articles with comments such as

Queensland web publisher Scott Balson is before the courts for illegally naming a prominent political figure on child sex charges during committal proceedings.

detracts from the age old presumption of innocence until found guilty.

Your Worship the DPP, the Office of Crown Law and the Attorney-General are powerful judicial departments that have an obligation to remain politically independent. Clearly their judicial impartiality is in question when one considers the manner that they went after me I would suggest because of my involvement with the One Nation party. I will be happy to set out my argument for that claim of political interference in the judiciary. In fact it is on the record that several staff in the DPP resigned not long after my arrest last year because they said that that department was "politicised". This viewpoint is backed up in the Lindeberg Petition which was tabled in Parliament last year.

Your Worship I am not the only party who has had complaints lodged against them in the D'Arcy case before he was committed for trial. In fact I lodged a complaint against two parties in January this year.

I have recently been advised by Assfalg that the DPP, over two months after Terry O'Gorman reportedly complained about the publication of D'Arcy's name in The Bulletin on 13th January in breach of section 7, that no resolution on whether to charge this Packer publication with an audited readership in Queensland of over 50,000 has been made.

This is what The Bulletin article says:

The future of Queensland's labor government hangs in the balance with the resignation of ex-deputy speaker Bill D'Arcy for health reasons. D'Arcy faces sex charges and was at the centre of the NetBet scandal last year. Bob Gibbs also resigned late last year. The government rules with only a one seat majority and Premier Peter Beattie has set the date for by-elections on February 5. Both are safe Labor seats but Labor is expected to face strong challenges from the independents.

I would remind Your Worship that the media and the politicians see this case as a test case on publishing on the Internet - I do not believe that I am being unduly skeptical when I say that the government and the media are using the alleged "naming" as a cover for their own agenda. Surely that goes against every convention on justice.

In the case of the breach by The Bulletin Assfalg advises that the DPP are still investigating whether an offence has been committed on the following grounds:

For the record that issue of The Bulletin was NOT withdrawn even after the ABC carried a report on their breach of the Act on the day it was released. I have a copy of the magazine here. The magazine was sold for six days after the offence being reported with no comment from The Courier-Mail or other mainstream media.

Why was I treated differently? I don't think that you have to be a genius to understand why.

Your Worship I informed you that I am not represented in this case and given you the reasons why. I am telling you now that the lines between the separation of powers at the top of our judiciary have become clouded and as a man who has no prior criminal record I can tell you with a clear conscience that I am left with a foul taste in my mouth. Based on my experiences to date I have concluded that the rule of law has become subservient to executive decree and Queensland is no better than a fascist state.

In fact, Your Worship, I would dare suggest that it is not I who is on trial here but the sanctity of our judicial system. Your Worship I am not a victim the judicial system is.

 This is what I had to say bout Trial by media - The Courier-Mail

Your Worship there is a clear case of trial by media in this case and I am not talking about the all the media I am talking specifically about the Murdoch-owned Courier-Mail.

The Courier-Mail have had me in their sights since I launched my book "Murder by Media, Death of Democracy in Australia" in January last year. The book factually reveals the unethical and biased reporting practices of this Murdoch paper. Several thousand copies have been sold and no legal challenge has ever been made against the book.

It is extremely important that you understand The Courier-Mail's direct involvement in this case and the reasons why I believe that I have been put through the mill on such a minor charge. This charge is only summary in nature yet I was arrested and have been on bail for nearly a year even though I have yet to be interviewed by police.

A key fact is that this court case has little, if anything, to do with the allegation that I named D'Arcy on the Internet in July last year. It has everything to do with being a test case on publishing on the Internet.

In other words, if you find me guilty, then your decision will open up a Pandoras box of defamation charges against people who have expressed opinions and views on the Internet in the best interests of freedom of speech. Something that we have no access to in the traditional media today.

Your Worship I will back up my statement that The Courier-Mail have played an unsavoury role with facts.

Fact One - Paul McCowan advised me that David Bullock advised him that it was The Courier-Mail who lodged the complaint against me which resulted in the comments raised in D'Arcy's court case on 28th July - as included in the brief of evidence. David Bullock has accepted this claim.

Fact Two - Lisa Taylor confirmed their hands-on involvement when she went there to get the "unlawful document".

The origination of the complaint is backed up by documents obtained by subpoena from the Office of Crown Law - being a written complaint by Sue Monk on a Courier-Mail letterhead to Royce Millar of the DPP.

Fact Three - I have copies of articles printed by The Courier-Mail written about me or this case since July last year. I believe that they tell the story adequately for me when I tell you that this paper has used its considerable media clout to bulldoze me, an ordinary Australian citizen, into a situation that would have had the politically correct screaming blue-murder if the circumstances had been different.

The silence has been defeaning.

You will soon notice Your Worship that many of the articles make presumptions about this case and even go to the length of stating that I am guilty of naming D'Arcy even though you have not decided on this issue - while they know that I have pleaded "Not Guilty". Where has the presumption of innocence gone? Other articles serve no other purpose but to denigrate me personally in the eyes of the Queensland public - softening me up for the kill, if you like.

Quite simply Your Worship The Courier-Mail has acted as complainant, judge and jury in a case that should be for you and your court alone to decide.

The articles start on the day of my arrest - 30th July 1999 (David Solomon) "Lack of legal knowledge is a problem in political ploy over sex charges" which starts off, quote:

Ignorance of the law is no excuse - as publisher Scott Balson may discover if prosecuting authorities decide to charge him for publishing the name of a man currently facing committal proceedings on child-sex charges. End quote.

In the words of Solomon I am guilty before I was even arrested later that day.

but this assumption which casts all assumptions of innocent until proven guilty aside is just a starting point for a very public campaign by The Courier-Mail that must, amongst other legal options available to me, put them in contempt of your court.

My argument is as follows:

The Courier-Mail published a rebuttal to then One Nation leader Bill Feldman who accused the paper in Parliament of being the complainant in my case. Bill Feldman's information came from no lesser an authority from my lawyer at the time, Paul McCowan of Gilshenan and Luton, who had been told this fact by David Bullock who is a police witness today.

I have a copy of The Courier-Mail editorial here dated 18th August 1999 for Your Worship to view. It reads:

He (Feldman) then stated that this newspaper is a signatory (whatever that is supposed to mean) to a court action against Scott Balson over the alleged publication on an Internet site of the name of a person facing committal procedures on sex charges. He implies that The Courier-Mail has taken a different stance in relation to the naming of the person (than it did about Rappolt) because he has a Labor background. Both aspects of this claim are complete nonsense.

In the first place, Mr Balson is being prosecuted by the Crown and no private individual has any part in that prosecution. Secondly, Mr Feldman ignores the fact that The Courier-Mail published the person's name when it was legal to do so - before he was charged with an offence. Indeed, The Courier-Mail has brought before the public the names of politicians of all political persuasions where there has been evidence that they have failed in their legal duty, cheated on their ministerial entitlements or physically abused their wives.

In fact there is a fax from Sue Monk on a Courier-Mail letterhead to the head of the DPP Royce Millar alerting him/complaining about the alleged breach and questioning the ramifications.

Of course, you might gather by now, Your Worship, that the Courier-Mail can never do any wrong whatever the background. In the short-sightedness of their editorial room at any rate.

The paper on that day also carries a "news" item on the same subject in which the paper's editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell, dismisses Feldman's claims with the following one-liner "We are not party to any action against Scott Balson".

Here is a copy of that article Your Worship.

Then a few days later on 23rd August 1999 Bill D'Arcy's solicitor Terry O'Gorman sums up the true state of affairs in The Courier-Mail in an article headed "A civil defence". Here is a copy of that article. O'Gorman is quoted as saying,

"I knew that would pull an enormous war (for complaining to the Attorney-General over an alleged contempt of court by the paper) between me and The Courier-Mail. I had to do it (pursue contempt of court charges against The Courier-Mail) for the client, but it was also an important civil liberties issue. I have subsequently learned very reliably that the Solicitor-General's recommendation to Beanland that The Courier-Mail be prosecuted for contempt. (No prosecution was launched).

"This was the first time I have taken on The Courier-Mail. I have learned as a result of it why the politicians in a one-newspaper town never do."

Well, Your Worship, Terry O'Gorman intimidated by The Courier-Mail over complaining... what more would this paper try against an ordinary citizen who had dared publish a book revealing their lack of journalistic ethics? Where was the civil libertarian then?

In October and November The Courier-Mail ran unrelated pieces in their Bottom Line section dishonestly claiming that I had upset Parliament when I visited the public gallery - going so far as suggesting that I had been "bounced out of Parliament". They were forced to carry my right of reply which put the knife into this fallacy.

I have copies of the Courier-Mail articles with me for Your Worship's attention.

Following my initial court hearing in Ipswich after the case was dismissed in December over charges being brought by the police in the wrong jurisdiction The Courier-Mail launched into their next furphy.

I would draw your attention to the fact Your Worship that no comment has been made by The Courier-Mail that two court cases have been abandoned because of the police's fault last year... either at the time or since this happened. Perhaps a summary charge is not news worthy after all in the eyes of the Murdoch press. Your Worship I see that a Courier-Mail reporter is in this room. I will watch with interest to see how they report on this case tomorrow.

But no, I am wrong because on the 6th January the day after the initial hearing in Ipswich The Courier-Mail carried a substantial article again suggesting that they were not the complainant. I have a copy of that article here.

Again the DPP's David Bullock put that issue to rest today.

What I am suggesting Your Worship is that I have been tried by a dishonest paper, The Courier-Mail, in an unprecedented manner simply because I dared publish a book which challenged their very questionable integrity. The same paper which laid the original complaint against me.

I totally concur with O'Gorman's comments about taking up such a challenge.

But then on February 17th this year the Courier-Mail tells us that the department for which David Bullock works, the DPP, the government body which recommended I be charged within 48 hours of the Courier-Mail lodging the complaint on 27th July is "politicised".

I quote from that article "sources within the office complained about the politicisation of the office through the appointment of Mr Hannigan who is a former Labor Party adviser" end quote.

I have a copy of the article here for your attention Your Worship.

If you think that I am questioning what forces are driving my case by now Your Worship you are correct.

Two days later on February 19th this year I again got unwanted lead billing in The Courier-Mail with Tony Koch writing under the banner "Conspiracy theorists party with odd-balls":

On his web page, Balson refers to Jeremy Lee, the former national organiser of the League of Rights. Balson says Lee is a regular columnist and opinion writer. Also referred to is Bob Djurdjevic, who, we are told, is to deliver a lecture in Sydney on "The New World Order and Serbia". Djurdjevic is into conspiracies involving the illuminati, the Rothchilds and the Rockefellers.

Also involved with Balson/One Nation et al is Len Clampett who leads the Reclaim Australia Party, which promotes as a policy what it calls a citizen-initiated mandate.

I have a copy of the article for Your Worship here.

Not only is the article aimed at denigrating me but this time it is extended to a circle of friends who share their views on the Internet about foreign ownership of Australian assets. They did not ask to be publicly humiliated simply because of their on-line association with me.

This ethical issue has little bearing on Brisbane's only daily paper.

But perhaps the article which should be of most concern to the sanctity and independence of this court is that carried by The Courier-Mail just days ago on Saturday 26th February. The paper has an audited circulation of nearly 350,000 copies in Queensland on that day Your Worship.

The article, a prominent story in the Monitor section, is headed "Ethics and the Web". I have a copy of the article for Your Worship to view.

Here is an extract and I quote:

Queensland web publisher Scott Balson is before the courts for illegally naming a prominent political figure on child sex charges during committal proceedings.

His site has also been criticised for anti-Semitic and anti-Asian comments, and several well-known people are preparing defamation actions against him.

State Attorney-General Matt Foley would not discuss Internet regulation this week but Opposition Spokesman Lawrence Springborg believes the Balson case is likely to be ground breaking.

"This is likely to be a first as far as Internet publication goes and it's very interesting to see where that goes. If it can be easily proven that the item was published in Queensland on a Queensland server (from the state whose law it is alleged to have contravened) then the case would obviously have been stronger. This case will probably be viewed as precedent one way or another," he says.

Springborg says it is an extremely hard task to build a case for defamation.

"If information has appeared from somewhere it's very difficult - unless you can prove that that information was published, or placed on the Internet by a person in a certain place where they have certain defamation laws and it probably occurred on a server in that place. It its on an international server - it might be in the Bahamas - then it becomes more difficult, and hard to track it back.

"In the US, they've moved to indemnify Internet companies from defamation action and that's probably a sensible move because you can't expect them to vet all the material that's on their service."

Regulation is a nightmare because of the world-wide nature of the Web and the varying laws in different countries, states or jurisdictions.

The Federal Government has made Australian Internet service providers accountable for obscene material under threat of sanction, but defamation is more difficult, Springborg says.

The Internet has also given the extreme Right a global forum for airing and inciting racial hatred. Groups that could not use traditional media can use the Net freely, erasing inflammatory material any time or moving sites through national boundaries.

Veeneklaas says the UN should play a role in setting basic rules about what type of information can and can't be distributed publicly and legally.

End quote.

Your Worship, now that you have the evidence by way of The Courier-Mail's own fingerprints of their bias in reporting on this case. You can see that this final piece pulls the string tightly around my neck. I have been tried and found to be guilty by the editorial staff at The Courier-Mail - no allegation of naming involved here just the remarkably simple statement "Queensland web publisher Scott Balson is before the courts for illegally naming a prominent political figure on child sex charges during committal proceedings."

Guilty of what? Guilty of questioning the paper's integrity through my book "Murder by Media".

Your Worship I believe that your decision on this case will have a major impact on freedom of speech in Australia in this new millennium. I hope and pray that you can see the role that the Murdoch press have played in trying to squash that.

My trial today is not about the alleged "naming" of D'Arcy. It is all about "publishing on the Internet" - the last domain of freedom of speech in this country.

I have explained to you why I am unrepresented today and you understand the length and breadth of the public humiliation that this paper has put me through for daring to tackle an issue with integrity and determination.

I do not do this for myself Your Worship I do this for an Australian society which is waking up to the fact that things ain't right in Australia. And they ain't right because of our blinkered media which can only report as their masters determine.

I thank you for listening to my argument about my trial be media and ask you to take the points raised into consideration as this case progresses.

After concluding with an argument that the off-shore web site was outside the court's jurisdiction I then cited test cases in the NSW Supreme Court and statements by academics about legislation on the Internet.

The Magistrate reserved her decision until 20th March.

It was at about 3.30pm that I left court... outside the media waited.

My statement was brief and to the point.

"If there is one lesson that I have learned from this experience it is that the men and women at the coal face of the judiciary are honest and diligent people while many of those who manage them in the key judicial arms of the public administration like the DPP, the Attorney Generals office and the Office of Crown Law have long forgotten these basic foundations of justice as they seek political opportunity and favour at the top."

"Is it any wonder that the ocker Aussie can't get a fair go in this country."

Channel 9's Melanie Wendt told me that she had been forced to give evidence - being called by the public prosecutor just ten minutes before the case started.

I then left the court and went home to relax after an extraordinary day in which the corruption of media and government were at last on the public record.

That night no  television media covered the events of the day.

The Courier-Mail today, unsurprisingly, completely ignored the events which had taken place in court yesterday. They had every reason to. For the paper is a law unto itself which had no idea of ethics or balanced reporting. It is, after all, a typical Murdoch publication.

A dodgy arrest?

When I got home I viewed the authority to prosecute. The authority was made out against a Scott Charles Balson, as my name is Charles Scott Balson I queried the legitimacy of the order with the public prosecutor this morning.

Scan of the authority signed by Matt Foley, the Attorney General, at this link

Send an email.

Media Reports:

The ABC reported on it locally with the following two pieces on 8th March:

One Nation webmaster passes out in court (am Report)

Former One Nation webmaster Scott Balson passed out in court this morning while facing charges relating to the Internet publishing of the name of a defendant in a rape case.

Mr Balson has pleased (sic) not guilty to one count of unlawful documentation, which relates to allegations he published the name of former state MP, Bill D'Arcy, before he was committed for trial.

Mr Balson has since returned to the Ipswich Court where he has told the Magistrate he is fit to continue.

Decision reserved (pm Report)

A Magistrate has reserved her decision on the Internet publishing of the name of a former State MP charged with child-sex offences.

Peter Majeros reports former One Nation webmaster Scott Balson has pleaded not guilty to the charge "Mr Balson says there is insufficient evidence linking him to the article which appeared on the Internet on or about 27th July last year. The article published the name of a former state MP Bill D'Arcy before he had been committed to stand trial on numerous child sex offences.

"The Ipswich Court heard today several witnesses including a commercial television reporter and David Bullock from the Department of Public Prosecutions. Mr Bullock said Mr Balson called him at work and told him he was responsible for the article.

"However in his final submission Mr Balson said he had never admitted to publishing the name. He said that the site appeared originated overseas a claim rejected by the prosecution.

Magistrate Donna McCallum has reserved her judgment. Mr Balson will reappear in court again later this month."

Queensland Times (page 3) - 9th March 2000

Balson faints in court

Former One Nation webmaster Scott Balson collapsed during a hearing in Ipswich Magistrates Court yesterday.

Balson was appearing on charges which allege he published the name of a Queensland politician accused of paedophilia.

In his first address to Magistrate Donna McCallum, Balson explained he could not afford legal representation and would be defending himself - and then promptly fainted.

Ms McCallum called a brief adjournment while Balson regained his composure.

It is alleged Balson named former MP for Woodridge Bill D'Arcy on an Internet site on July 27, 1999, stating the politician was facing child-sex charges, contrary to Queensland law.

Mr D'Arcy was committed to stand trial for the charges on January 21 this year, and could be publicly named from that date.

During yesterday's hearing forensic computer analyst Darren Freestone told the court he had helped police during a search of Balson's business premises.

Mr Freestone said he copied the hard drive on Balson's computer then located three files, one relating to Mr D'Arcy.

Balson told the court there was insufficient evidence to link his company with the Internet article.

"I have never admitted to being the publisher of that article," he said in his final address.

"The article was carried on an overseas computer called Tripod, located in the United States.

"No court in Australia has the jurisdiction to rule on this case."

Police prosecutor Constable Ian Wright told the court Balson was the registered director of Interactive Presentations Pty Ltd, the same company responsible fir furnishing the Internet article.

"Certainly the article did refer to committal proceedings and who the person was.

"Taking everything into account there is certainly enough to find guilt with the defendant."

Balson has pleaded not guilty on the charge.

Evidence presented by the prosecutor included copies of a page from the website and a business card from Balson listing a similar web address.

The prosecution called five witnesses. Balson called no witnesses in his defence. Ms McCallum will hand down her findings on March 20.

The Australian, 9th March 2000:

Day in court a faint memory (Geoffrey Newman):

A One Nation supporter charged with publishing the name of a politician on child sex charges fainted while defending himself in Ipswich Magistrates Court yesterday.

Web site operator Scott Balson had just told Magistrate Donna McCallum the case had left him with a legal bill of $10,000 when he fell backwards from the bar table and hit the floor.

The hearing was resumed about an hour later.

Mr Balson, of Karana Downs, west of Brisbane, is charged with naming former Labor MP Bill D'Arcy as the man facing almost 50 child sex charges.

He allegedly published the name on his Australian National News of the Day site in July last year, in the opening week of Mr D'Arcy's committal hearing.

Under Queensland law, Mr D'Arcy's could not be published in that state in connection with the charges until he was committed for trial in January.

David Bullock who prosecuted Mr D'Arcy at the committal and appeared as a witness yesterday, told the court a man identifying himself as Mr Balson rang him the morning after the alleged offence and admitted that he was the author of the offending Web page.

Ms McCallum reserved her decision.

Letters received:

Copied from Queensland Times letter to editor:

Dear Sir

Citizens of Ipswich may be unaware that history was unfolding in its Court House on March 8. The trial of the Scott Balson - aborted many times in Brisbane before being shuffled out of public glare to Ipswich - was at last brought to a head. Scott was charged with publishing on the Internet the name of that alleged child molester who propped up the current government for almost two years while the authorities did nothing. Even now, he has still to be brought to trial, while his victims continue to suffer, and the government pursues Scott vengefully. At Scott's trial, the Magistrate reserved her decision. Who knows? Queensland may have its own Dame Roma Mitchell?

Yours sincerely

Dr Dan O'Donnell 

Balson vs The Freedom of the press

I wonder just how many people realise the significance of what Charles Scott Balson did yesterday. True he was 'frog-marched' like an errant schoolboy who had answered back to his 'superiors' or worse still dared to challenge their code of ethics. We must remember, that as troglodytes our role in life is to accept the word of our masters, be they politicians or publishing barons. Our role is to sop up what they want us to believe without demur or question. That way we can be manipulated and controlled.

Balson is at the vanguard of change. Balson has threatened the very sanctity of the established press …and that is what this is all about.

The trouble is that for far too long the main stream press has run its own agenda so well that it can and does manipulate political control. As Balson has adroitly pointed out in his submission to the Magistrate, the press, and in this case the Courier-Mail, is slanted and selective. It is hard to accuse the paper of bias, for in order to do that two sides of a story must be presented. No longer do newspapers have reporters, but journalists who are indoctrinated into presenting the editorial philosophies. They print what they like, they twist what they like and the unsuspecting public just sop it up.

There are of course two maxims here; that two unequal forces will result in the weaker being overcome and the other; that truth will finally win out. But at what cost?

Balson -v- Murdock, is hardly an equal battle, yet what he has raised here is something that is dear to the heart of many thinking Australians. Honesty and integrity in newspapers is no longer a fact of life. They are in fact a tool to manipulate the masses and it is only the paid mouthpieces of these powerful metropolitan dailies that sit back and label such critics as 'extremists'. Of course they would …for this is the stuff of corrosion of their base.

Having read Balson's submission, I can only appreciate the tremendous effort that he has gone too, to analysis and present his case. I found his point of view not only soundly reasoned, thus removing the stigma of being an 'extremist or right wing' whatever that it is supposed to mean, but also quite alarming. The freedom of the press, (that the Courier-Mail used to run under its Editorial masthead) now has a more sinister connotation …character assassination by innuendo. The freedom of the press used to carry with it an ethic, born of both professionalism and pride. Today it prints what it likes, when it likes and when it suits …remains silent.

The honesty of the press and the media on a broader front was recently illustrated by a Channel Nine reporter who interviewed me about One Nation. He picked up a story that I had written, that appeared on the overseas Internet. He believed that he could 'crack' the One Nation sham. I told him I doubted it, but he insisted that what he had read on Balson's Website was compelling, believable and highly damaging to the Howard Government. I agreed. What happened was that my footage was edited out, because the Channel Nine lawyers took fright. They told the reporter that 'this could bring down the government.' This reporter told me that what this country lacked were political journalists with the guts to tackle their peers. The truth is far more clouded than that…the newspapers only print what does not have a devastating effect on politicians. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. That is how the game is played.

The irony is that this Sunday Program journalist, believed that my comments about what John Elliott had told me was the crucial element of his 'cracking of the scam.' In fact in November 1997 I spoke with Jeff Somerfield of the Courier-Mail about this. His reply was, 'would you go public on that'. My reply was 'yes', but the Courier-Mail, never took it up …just as Channel Nine's reporter was not allowed to question Elliott.

I have often wondered how much News of the Day is a Balson bulletin, rather than a general news outlet. Since Balson has now most credibly produced his bona fides I would hope that his readers, who I suspect are few, would gather around and promote his electronic 'newspaper.' Not only is it a pioneer in this field, but it gives ordinary people a chance to express their grievances, without fear or censorship. I can only say that the greatest demoralising aspect in being at the vanguard of public opinion is when those you are fighting for sit back and allow you to do it with a 'Well done Scott.' It takes a little more than that. It is up to all of us to get in behind this man and support him. Your comments will travel far, for if Kerry Packer's Channel Nine, not only condescended to read these columns, but put a program based on its information then the collective opinions of the troglodytes may yet corrode the base of the monopolistic and gutless Murdock Queensland flagship the pathetic Courier-Mail.

I suggest that ALL readers to these columns put finger to keyboard and flood these pages.


Bruce Whiteside

Tongue in cheek "decision" on the court case by a self-confessed "shit-stirrer"

Court of Imagination
Queens Land.

Subject: Decision of the Majistrate re the case The State against Balson
Reference: Section 7 of the sexual offence act.1978.

The Magistratess

Before I hand down my decision in the above matter, I will offer certain material in support of my decision.

The defendant (Balson) went into great detail in his defence submission.

However, most of his own evidence supported the Crowns charge. He detailed evidence of the Media providing investigative evidence that implicated himself as the publisher of the material. The media is governed by self imposed regulations, and it is the opinion of this court that their evidence is impeccable.

However, this has no bearing at all on whether Balson has breached the act.

He went into great detail to describe that he was a victim of political intrigue. This also, whether true or false has no bearing on the case as to whether there was a breach.

He also claimed with evidence that others had also breached this act.

If three cars go through a red light, and only one is apprehended, that does not offer a defence.

As regards the minor part of his submission that he was not the publisher of the material displayed on an overseas Internet server, and that in any case this is an attempt to set a precedent to control the Internet, I wish to point out the following.

Setting precedents is a normal operation of the court system.

  1. If a person in this state compiles material and sends it to another country for printing, and then has it sent through the post to people in this state, it is published in this state. See definition Publishing.
  2. I see no difference other than the media used. Meaning that the overseas server is the printer/provider and the source of the material is the publisher, irrespective of the author.
  3. Balson’s Company was the indisputable source of the material printed/published.
  4. A precedent already set by the ATO . What is a fact may be deemed not to be a fact. Also what is not a fact may be deemed to be in fact a fact.
  5. Consequently it is the decision of this court that Balson is guilty as charged, and will be passed forward for sentencing at a date to be decided.

In the meantime Balson is to be detained at Her Majesties convenience and his passport held until arrangements can be made for the commonwealth Government to revoke his citizenship for his eventual deportation to South Africa or some other country of his choice.

Signed . court Sunday, March 12, 2000, LeslieJames, Dip. SSAA (Dipsomaniac Shit Stirrers Association Australia.

Related pages:
When Power becomes absolute

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