The 'two Dannys' - Decision on the vilification case
On Friday 17 December 2004, Judge Michael Higgins handed down his decision in the vilification case brought by the Islamic Council of Victoria against Catch the Fire Ministries, Pastor Danny Nalliah and Pastor Daniel Scot.
Judge Higgins read a 5 page Summary Decision. The full decision - 140 pages - was not posted on the internet until the following Thursday 23 December. Apparently it was not available on the day due to a section being deleted.
He found that the two pastors breached the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act and vilified Muslims.
Posted on AUSTLII database. Click here.
The penalty for Pastors Danny Nalliah, Daniel Scot and Catch the Fire Ministries is still to be determined. A brief hearing was held on Friday 28 January 2005 (at the County Court) to decide when the penalty hearing will be held.
The penalty hearing was held on 2 - 3 May 2005.
The Islamic Council of Victoria had to submit documents detailing what they wanted as a penalty (by 11 April 2005), and then Catch the Fire Ministries and the pastors were required to respond in writing (by 25 April 2005).
At the hearing on 2 May each side presented their case.
At the hearing on 28 January, the ICV barrister revealed the basis of what they could ask for.... an apology; an order regarding future conduct (possibly speaking and writing) and an order that the court files be closed or suppressed.
Responses to the decision
A number of Christian groups made responses to the Judge's decision. In particular, some have addressed specific matters in the Decision, highlighting factual errors.
Press Release: The Verdict - Freedom of Speech, GONE
Salt Shakers, 17 Dec 2004.
Response: Vilification Update - Responses to the Summary Decision
From Salt Shakers. This response to the Summary Decision addresses a number of the statements made by Judge Higgins, especially about statements made by Pastor Daniel Scot and his credibility.
Article: Daniel Scot's (in)credible testimony
Mark Durie has written an excellent article detailing some of the statements made by Judge Higgins about Daniel Scot. In particular, Judge Higgins made statements about Daniel Scot's credibility. Using extracts from the seminar transcript and the hearing transcript, Mark Durie shows some of the errors in the statements made in the decision. He also analyses some of the statements made by by Judge Higgins as to what Pastor Scot said, for instance "Muslims are demons" and shows that Pastor Scot did not say that.
Press Release: Black day for free speech and religious liberty
Centre for Christian Ethics, Rod Benson, Morling College, Sydney. (Baptist)
Statement: Shock ruling on religious vilification
Mrs Ros Phillips, Festival of Light.
Media release: Coming to a democracy near you... "The Attack on Free Speech"
International Christian Concern, Washington USA.