Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ron Hicks, obsessive homophobe

That a weekend news story, purporting to prove that the late John Marsden was indeed a paedophile, carried the co-byline of Ron Hicks was no accident. (Nor was the timing of the story, running on the day of Marsden’s funeral – it had obviously been held over for this occasion, despite its pretext of freshness.)

Ron Hicks is a Sydney freelance journalist with a striking specialisation in subject matter: gay men and their paedophilia/corruption. In terms of form, he has plenty, including having been named in NSW parliament in the early 1990s thus:

[MP Deirdre Grusovin] has never been able to choose the right people to help her. She had that shady person, Ron Hicks, helping her with the Mr Bubbles [paedophile] issue. [Hicks] kept egging her on until in the end she made a fool of herself.

and thus:

It should be noted who wrote the story [bagging the then NSW Liberal government] in the Sunday Telegraph last Sunday. It was a Mr Ron Hicks, a former press secretary to Mr Laurie Brereton, a Minister in the former Labor Government and the brother of [MP Deidre Grusovin].

With a Tourette’s-like compulsion, Hicks over the last four years has repeatedly smeared Justice Michael Kirby, always in the news pages of the Australian, and mostly under a co-byline.

Here’s the oldest (AFAICT) example of his work:

Kirby given names in Comcar search
By Michael McKinnon, FOI editor, and Ron Hicks
Australian 30 December 2002

High Court judge Michael Kirby was given the names of people seeking details of his travel records despite receiving official written advice that the release of identities was forbidden.

The confidential information provided to Justice Kirby, some of which proved to be false, was also used by the Labor Party as part of a parliamentary attack against the Government.

The next day, the Australian totally backtracked (this time without Hicks’ byline, surprise, surprise), and albeit with a misleading headline:

Senator pursues Kirby's 'breach'
By Michael McKinnon and Ben Haslem
Australian 31 December 2002

Three of Australia's leading legal academics yesterday said it appeared Justice Kirby had behaved neither illegally nor unethically.

Director of the Gilbert and Tobin Centre of Public Law at the University of NSW, George Williams, said Justice Kirby's request to Mr Howard to seek background information on the FOI applications was "quite normal".

University of Notre Dame dean of law Greg Craven said there was no suggestion Justice Kirby had asked Mr Howard to pressure the DOFA officer into revealing either applicant's name without consent.

Australian National University administrative law professor John McMillan said Justice Kirby had acted entirely appropriately in asking Mr Howard to seek the information on his behalf.

But most of Hicks’ mud still presumably stuck; viz the (malicious and complete false) implication that Kirby was corrupt and/or using FOI to wage a shady personal vendetta.

Having got away with that one, Hicks’ next anti-Kirby foray was in dragging the judge’s name into a minor (especially by Sydney standards ) property dispute between two gay men (one of whom, Gordon Stewart, knew Kirby slightly).

The hardcopy references are:

Ron Hicks and Emma-Kate Symons, “The hairdresser, the lawyer and their bitter spat over love flat” Australian 31 July 2004

Ron Hicks, "Lawyer helped hide paedophile Bell’s identity" Australian 7 August 2004

In the 18 months between these forays, admittedly Hicks did manage to write a gay-angled (negative, of course) story without bringing Justice Kirby into it:

Blood bank hack 'risk'
Ron Hicks
Australian 9 September 2003

[A] concerned member of the Red Cross IT team [said]:

"My worry is that the system could be hacked and something could be slipped into the code and we would never know . . . For instance, a Trojan horse could be slipped into the code. It would be simple to slip in an algorithm that said, for instance, that every prime number blood donation for a multiple of five was HIV-positive.

"Our relationship with the AIDS community is very good, but you would not pick up those false positives immediately, and you would have to check each false positive manually. It would cause chaos [by slowing down everything]."

In case you don’t get it, some anonymous IT-tard from the Red Cross is suggesting that “the AIDS community” (meaning malicious gay men) could potentially hack the Red Cross system, so as to contrive false HIV-positives within the blood supply. Ron Hicks was happy to put on his best propeller-hat* to give the guy a platform for this bullshit. As to why any such maliciously-minded (and IT-whizz) gay men would hack to create false positives, instead of much nastier false negatives is left curiously unexplored by Hicks. Possibly, he thinks that gay men’s inherent ditziness would mean this is a hack too far for them.

Coming right up to the present, after a once-off foray into the Cronulla-riots aftermath (the gay link here escapes me, apart from the “X was a camel-raping faggot” t-shirt wearer no doubt being as drunk on homophobia as Hicks), it’s almost back to business as usual.

As we’ll see, this latest time Hicks doesn’t expressly invoke Kirby as seedy side-show (Hicks’ mate (I’m guessing) Paul Sheehan had already done that). Instead, Hicks’ shows a uncharacteristic single-mindedness and determination, in trashing a recently dead man’s reputation.

First though, there was a brief, late detour en route:

Split on judges' standards
Ron Hicks
Australian 25 May 2006

THE federal Government has rejected calls to establish a statutory organisation to deal with complaints against judges and magistrates . . . Senator [Bill] Heffernan raised the case of a judge who died last year. The NSW Coroner's Court has issued a suppression order on all matters concerning his death.

Well, we all know what that’s about, don’t we? (Hint: “judge” plus “suppression order” plus “Bill Heffernan” spells “P-A-E-D-O ….”)

Detour over with, Hicks’ latest foray has the late John Marsden squarely in his sights.

High-profile lawyer's child sex offence
Ron Hicks
Australian 3 June 2006

Prominent Sydney lawyer John Marsden was found by a NSW District Court judge to have sexually abused an eight-year-old schoolboy when he was a swimming and football coach at a Catholic boarding school in the late 1960s.

The 2001 civil case, in which the plaintiff was awarded the then maximum amount of $40,000 in victim's compensation, could not be revealed until now because it was subject to a court suppression order.

But now that Marsden - a former New South Wales Law Society president - has died of cancer, his alleged victim [Paul Michael Fraser] has come forward to The Weekend Australian [sic – Hicks is freelance].

In his judgment of July 6, 2001, NSW District Court judge Ken Taylor accepted "on the balance of probabilities" that Marsden had sexually abused Mr Fraser . . .

Resistance to his version of events has been slight . . .

Mr Fraser did complain to school authorities [after the final incident, when he was nine], but said he was not believed over the respected local solicitor and former trainee priest. Mr Fraser took his allegations against Marsden to Wood royal commission investigators in 1996, but Marsden was never charged by police.

Mr Fraser then began a civil action in the NSW Supreme Court, but said he was "threatened with financial ruin" by the rich and powerful lawyer. On legal advice, he sought victim's compensation instead.

Who knows what is the truth here? What doesn’t ring true is that a nine-year-old boy would have complained to the school, and matters would apparently rest there. Surely his parents would have been brought into any complaint? Also, with Marsden being 25 y.o. at the time, I very much doubt that that he was then a “respected local solicitor”.

Then there’s the line: “Resistance to [Fraser’s] version of events has been slight”. No shit – despite the imprimatur given by the District Court reference, victim compensation cases are one-sided affairs, in which the evidence of the (alleged) perpetrator of the underlying crime, or indeed of anyone who might challenge the victim’s victim-ness, is neither expected nor welcome.

On slightly dodgier ground, if Marsden did indeed molest the boy, it is highly likely, based on paedophile typologies, that there were many other victims, most likely other boys at the same school. Where are they?

In any event, probably the most damming evidence here comes from Paul Fraser’s own mouth:

"I think I would have been one of the most credible witnesses [in the Marsden defamation case against the Seven Network] . . . I went to private schools and I had not been in any trouble, so Marsden did not have any dirt on me".

Umm sorry, Paul Fraser – you attended, inter alia, an unprestigious Catholic primary school in Sydney’s boondocks. Whatever John Marsden may have done to you, I doubt that the making of you into a laughable snob can be pinned on him. Ditto for your purveying of ancient media morsels to the likes of Ron Hicks.

* "It was supposed to be based on an Oracle 8 relational database management system, but much of the program was written in Visual Basic language." Err, right, Ron - but for your general readership, couldn't you simplify this into, say, a Judge Walks into a Public Toilet anecdote?

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