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21 May 2013

Picking Things to Bits: Meryl Dorey goes all Freeman-On-The-Land-ish



Because they really do exist.

Back in March, I wrote a little thing about the Freeman-on-the-Land (FOTL) movement, in all its logic-defying wonderfulness (I also wrote a much longer version for the gorgeous and reasonably-priced King's Tribune. If you want the rest of this post to make sense, do pop over and have a little read. If you'd rather not, go and have a cup of tea. I'd love one too please. One sugar.) At that stage, I had a hunch and an inkling that the movement was happening in Australia, but had little idea how close it lay to my everyday realm of outrage.

Now, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, I can show you a letter to a government body, written with the unmistakable clang of a Freeman-on-the-Land. And the author is none other than our favourite anti-vaccine, anti-medicine, anti-science, anti-most-sensible-things doyenne of the eccentric fringe media, Meryl Dorey.

Before I pop my Picking-Things-To-Bits hat on and take you through the letter one bewildering paragraph at a time, here's a little back-story:

5 May 2012: Meryl Dorey is interviewed on Fairdinkum Radio by Leon Pittard. During the interview, both discuss, promote and gush about Black Salve, an unregistered quack cancer remedy that is claimed by its supporters to safely and selectively remove cancerous tissue (when evidence suggests that it dangerously and indiscriminately burns people's noses off).

May 2012: An anonymous complaint is made to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)'s Complaints Resolution Panel (CRP), because promoting unproven and unregistered cancer treatments is against the law.

January 2013: The CRP determines that the radio interview is in contravention of parts of the Therapeutic Goods Act (1989) and the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (2007). You can find the determination here. Ms Dorey and Mr Pittard are requested to respond to the finding.

July 2012: Meryl Dorey responds with the letter I quote below.

You can find a PDF copy of the letter here, and an excellent summary of the whole shemozzle over at Diluted Thinking.


So, let's pick it to bits, shall we? I'll begin by introducing the players. 

"Meryl Dorey" - The legal persona of Meryl Dorey, who only exists on paper and is subject to laws and regulations in name only, hereafter called "MERYL DOREY"

"Person's Personal Representative for MERYL DOREY" - Meryl Dorey's Freeman-on-the-Land meatperson, who is free and only subject to nice, cuddly Common Law, hereafter called "Meryl Dorey Meatperson"

"TGA Guy" - the representative from the TGA CRP handling the complaint, who may be wondering what the hell is going on.

It begins...
(Bold is from the original letter. Italic is me being a smartarse.)

"Person's Personal Representative For MERYL DOREY"
This letter is sent to you from Meryl Dorey Meatperson, not from MERYL DOREY.

"TGA Guy In his Private capacity"
This letter is sent to the cuddly meatperson version of TGA Guy, not the legal entity employed by the bastard government corporation who, let's face it, is just doing his job.

"In Regards: OFFER TO SETTLE IN PRIVATE"
I'M ONTO YOU. I know that you're trying to get me to do something, but I have no contract with you, so you can go and get stuffed. You can tell by the way I use words like "offer" and "claim" that I know the secret language of legal things, and you can't trick me into abiding by your 'Acts' and 'Codes'. 

"Dear TGA Guy,
The Person's Personal Representative, after seeking wise council, writes to TGA Guy, today in his Private capacity and humbly and sincerely apologises for any dishonour he may have caused."
Meryl Dorey Meatperson, after talking to some convincing-sounding wingnuts, is sorry if (s)he's come across as dishonourable, because that goes against cuddly Common Law, and that would be just dreadful. Soz.

"The Person's Personal Representative, 
in his Inherent Jurisdiction de jure solum ei naturale, conditionally accepts that TGA Guy has made a well pled claim that, Meryl Dorey has advertised and promoted 'Black Salve' and that Leon Pittard has further promoted and advertised 'Black Salve' by publishing the interview, and offers to settle this matter in private upon TGA Guy in his own private capacity providing true, correct and complete proof; that:"
Meryl Dorey Meatperson has read the letter that says she's in contravention of your so-called 'Act' and your so-called 'Code', but does not agree, because we're dealing with Natural Law (in bad Latin, no less!), so here's what's going to happen. Prove the following things to me, and then we'll talk. 

"Relating a personal condition to anyone constitutes advertising;"
PROVE what I said about Black Salve was advertising in a way that will convince a crazy person. Because I don't think it was advertising. Go on. I dare you.

"The person making the claim has full knowledge of any fees paid for any alleged advertising;"
PROVE that it was a paid advertisement. Because according to the law that I just made up in my head, it's not advertising unless someone gets paid for it.

"The right to free speech is not an inherent right;"
PROVE that I don't have the inherent right to free speech and therefore I can say whatever I like about how awesome it is to burn flesh off yourself and how crap all those other lame-o cancer 'treatments' are. I don't care what your actual laws or the actual Constitution says. It only matters what *I* call free speech.

"Any Corporation has the right to sue any individual in their private capacity;"
PROVE that you have any jurisdiction over me in my made-up fantasy version of the law. Because, see, you're the Corporation, and you're suing me, Meryl Meatperson, and cuddly Common Law says you can't do that. Because I said so. Or Ipsy Dixie, or however you say it in Latin.

"The Persons Personal Representative in his Inherent Jurisdiction is not able to settle this matter in private."
PROVE that I can't just do whatever I want. PROVE that everything in this letter is complete and utter frothy bollocks. I DOUBLE DARE YOU.

"NOTICE - TGA Guy, in his own private capacity, shall have twenty one days (21) from being served to respond by rebutting all of the above -point for point -or it shall be declared that free speech is still an inherent right, and the Person's Personal Representative has the proprietary right to settle all outstanding issues in the private. "
You've got 21 days from receipt of this letter to PROVE everything I asked you to prove in my Very Impressive List above. If you can't prove that my made-up cuddly law and my right to flog flesh-eating codswallop is complete pants, then this conversation is OVER. 

"Sincerely
M.D.
Person's Personal Representative
By Accommodation"
Shaking Up Important Sounding Words In A Bag.



And the TGA's response? "The advertisers did not respond to the substance of the complaint."