September 17, 2021

Contempt Sentencing - Nightcap Nightmare Blog

On 17 September 2021, the publisher of Nightcap Nightmare Blog was sentenced in NSW Supreme Court to prison for two weeks and a fine of $20,000, suspended on condition of good behaviour for two years, with legal costs in addition. Judge Sackar said he was imposing the severe judgement as a "real deterrent" because he considers the offending information "an affront to the Court".


I’m Gillian Linda Norman, known as Gi Linda. I’m the publisher of Nightcap Nightmare Blog as representative of a group of creditors with screen-name “Free Radical,” who are documenting an ongoing quest for justice.


I have just received sentencing for contempt of court, with a tightening gag.


For the last four years, I have been on trial in NSW Supreme Court on charges of defamation and contempt of court, accused of imputing deception, fraud and bullying to the plaintiffs Adrian Brennock and Phillip Dixon, kingpins in Nightcap Village, a prospective land-share venture at Mt Burrell, NSW.


On 18 June 2021, I was found guilty of contempt by Justice Sackar for breaching injunctive orders on six of fifteen counts, (Brennock and Dixon v Norman [2021] NSWSC 716).


The claimants, represented by Rose Litigation, brought the contempt charges as a continuation of a defamation claim for $4 million that was prosecuted against me from 2017-2020 by Mark Darwin and others, after I published allegations that their land-share “investment opportunity” was a scam.


Thanks to a referral by Sackar J to the Bar Association, I was represented in the contempt hearings by barrister Kieran Smark SC, who also represented me in 2017 during the defamation hearings, when he defeated a related demand by the plaintiffs for an interlocutory injunction imposing a total blog gag. I remember that the plaintiffs did not pay costs that were awarded in my favour by Justice McCallum.


"Dancing on a Tilted Stage"


As a British journalist and documentary filmmaker, I was professionally trained to know, when reporting allegations of misconduct, that defamation, including libel and slander, must be false to incur liability for damaging a good reputation. 


But I discovered as a resident in the land of Oz, that this country wields the most draconian defamation laws in the word, where truth can be defamatory just because it causes financial loss. 


I also noticed that truth cannot easily be justified to an acceptable legal standard when confronted toe-to-toe with dishonourable claimants before a judge who may be predisposed against a crusading "serial pest" without an expensive legal team.



During a seven-day defamation hearing in 2019, I presented evidence to the Court substantiating my reports that more than twenty investors lost their funds after co-financing purchase of property for the “Bhula Bhula Village Community” in 2015, with subsequent total lack of consideration and refusal of restitution. This evidence was ignored.


After three years of litigation, numerous interlocutory hearings and an excruciating trial in Sydney's Supreme Court, the defamation claim against me was won in 2020 by the plaintiffs with a judgement that their profitable folly did not rise to the level of fraud. (Darwin v Norman [2020] NSWSC 357) 


I was ordered to pay $400,000 damages plus the plaintiffs' legal costs, which, they said, amounted to more than $1 million.


Injunctions were then summarily imposed, including prohibition on any publication that may implicate the plaintiffs in crimes involving deceptive marketing, fraud and bullying.


On the basis of these orders, Rose Litigation made a complaint causing Google Corp to remove multiple search results and several blogs that the group of creditors had published about the venture from 2016-2020.


In response, Nightcap Nightmare Blog was brought online, narrating facts in the context of the defamation judgement. Creditors also hoped the blog would help mitigate ad hominen attacks against them


Contumacious Contempt?


Publication of Nightcap Nightmare Blog triggered another complaint by Rose Litigation to Google Corp resulting in removal of ten posts, and the initiation of a contempt claim against me.

The claimants in the contempt matter objected that potential new investors in Nightcap Village were withdrawing finance when they inferred the prohibited imputations from offending posts in Nightcap Nightmare Blog, to effect that the bare facts reveal that aspiring Nightcap developers deceive and defraud then bully those who mistakenly trust them. 

As evidence of criminal contempt, the claimants highlighted before Justice Sackar certain posts that expose my distaste for lying lawyers and my distrust of Kangaroo Courts - opinions formed after four years of dancing on a titled stage, being sliced and diced by a double-edged sword of injustice that sneers at due process for the impecunious.

Brennock and Dixon, the two claimants in the contempt matter, attempting to prevent my continued publication of anything related to the land-share venture, argued that because it could be inferred from facts published in the blog that they deceive and defraud people, my offence is contumacious, carrying a severe criminally penalty of incarceration with no clemency allowed.


Precedents show that in some contempt cases, those without sufficient resources to pay a fine can remedy a civil contempt by an authentic apology, rather than suffering the punishment of imprisonment. In this matter it was noted by the Judge during the 11 August hearing, that although I had edited or removed the offending posts, I had made no apology, so severe precedent was needed to vindicate the authority of the Court.

 

Given opportunity to remedy my lack of contrition, barrister Smark made a statement on my behalf apologising to the Court and to the plaintiffs for breaking Court orders, and affirming my intention to avoid further breach, as long as the injunctions remain in place. 

However, the wording of my sorry statement was not acceptable and sentencing to determine the severity of my punishment was deferred pending a better apology. Admitting that my previous apology to the plaintiffs for unintended breaches was insincere, I  addressed a revised apology only to the Court.

The Judge also requested clarification of laws and precedents defining the scope of judicial authority on civil contempt matters with interlocking criminal jurisdiction.

Under current statue law, punishment relating to civil charges of contempt may not take into account mitigating considerations that normally apply to the punishment of crime. This impacts me as a lack of procedural fairness in a case where I believe the claimants are abusing legal process with perjured affidavits, tampered evidence and lying lawyers to further their venture under colour of law.


It concerns me that although a conviction for contumacious contempt of court is a conviction for an offence which imposes a criminal record, judgement is measured by the standard of a supposed reasonable reader, that is a legal fiction entirely divorced from the actual facts of reality.


I understand that the Court’s power to punish contempt is exercised to vindicate the integrity of its proceedings, but if judgement is divorced from truth then injustice is the inevitable outcome.

Certainly, if the courts are not being used to facilitate crime, I think justice would not be imprisoning the whistleblower.
 
Even so, as publisher of Nightcap Nightmare Blog, to avoid further unintended breach of Court Orders, I am committed to suppressing information that could impute such serious crime to the claimants.

September 16, 2021

Nightcap Nightmare Blog - Contempt of Court


Sentencing in NSW Supreme Court by Judge Sackar to decide the severity of punishment to be inflicted on Nightcap Nightmare Blog publisher, Gi Linda, for Contempt of Court, is listed for Friday, September 17, at 2pm. (Brennock v Norman [2021] NSWSC 716)

September 06, 2021

Nightcap Dreamers or Deceivers?


Nightcap Village is an idyllic dream for celebrity chef Pete Evans and other vendors of hopium who are selling residential lots in a proposed Tweed Valley land-share community... but for disenfranchised creditors left destitute by deception and betrayal, the venture is an ongoing nightmare!

Nightcap promotor Pete Evans, selling residential lots without  DA

Nightcap Development Application Refused... Again!


By 2016, more than twenty investors had provided over $2 million for purchase of property, paid to the trust account of the conveyancer, Mullumbimby lawyer Wroth Wall, without receiving the shared ownership of land and residential lots that had been promised. 

Promotors selling residential lots had silenced warnings that multiple occupancy was not a permissible use of the advertised properties, as potential investors were told that development consent already existed, was assured, or would soon be approved.

Although the land-share venture began in 2014, no concept plan was filed with Tweed Shire Council until 2019. Between 2019-2021, Nightcap's DA application was rejected three times by Tweed Shire Council and referred to the Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP).

The  current DA application, (DA21/0010), is for a "Concept Staged Development Application to create 10 interconnected Rural Land Sharing Communities and associated works with 392 Residential Lots" 

The applicants / land owners involved are: Peter Van Lieshout, NCV Enterprises Pty Ltd, Dolph Cooke, Darko Kovac, Zimmer Land Pty Ltd and Kempcove Pty Ltd. 

On 18 August 2021, the DA was rejected by the Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP) due to failure of permissibility.

Nightcap proposed concept

The panel determined to refuse the development application pursuant to section 4.16 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The NRPP has published reasons for unanimously refusing the Nightcap Village development application:



Native Title 

Mingungbal squatters claim they are "true owners" of "Native Title"

The properties at 3220-3222 Kyogle Rd, Mt Burrell, that were purchased using original investors' trust funds without consideration, have been occupied since 2017 by Aboriginal rights activist Mark McMurtrie, self-identified as Gunham Badi Jakamarra.

Mark McMurtrie claims that "Native Title" to the estate has been gifted to a tribe of Mingungbal Islanders, who are now the "true owners". He falsely claims the venture was granted development consent in 2019 by NSW government as a "State Priority Project".

Litigation by angry creditors is ongoing, as residential lots and other interests in land continue to be sold without fulfilment of representations. 

Nightcap Update Newsletter 


In a Nightcap Update Newsletter on 19 August 2021, finance broker Derek Zillman said their little local shop is now selling pretty coloured things and the anonymous development team, not at all deterred by their fourth DA rejection, is ready for a fight! 

Zillman promises investors who have purchased residential lots and other interests in the property that the prospective developers intend to appeal the NRPP decision in the Land and Environment Court, in hope that this "world leading" land-share venture would not be lost. 

Derek Zillman, a major shareholder in NCV Enterprises, fails to mention that from 2016-2018, Tweed Shire Council fought the developers over their failure to respect development regulations. Council won in the Land and Environment Court, forcing investors, who had been encouraged by promotors to build unapproved residences on the property, to dismantle their dream homes.

Unauthorised dream homes removed by Court order in 2018

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