Friday, 9 June 2017

Truth on Trial — Mark Darwin SLAPPs the Law

By Gi Linda

The truth about Truthology was first told in October 2016 when the Nimbin GoodTimes published an exposé of a local land-share fraud that had defrauded investors of over $1.5 million.

The trial about the truth of “The Truth about Truthology” began on June 9, 2017, with a directions hearing at Sydney Supreme Court. The initiating claim was lodged by Mark Darwin and collaborators on March 16, 2017, against myself and the Nimbin GoodTimes newspaper regarding publication of the article I wrote exposing Mark Darwin’s use of the fronts “Truthology” and “Freedom Summits” to deceive investors who were “selected” to become victims in his “Bhula Bhula Community Village” land-share fraud.

With Darwin’s ever-escalating requests for damages estimated to soar over $4million, giving a proposed cool one-million-dollars for each of four plaintiffs, this is by far the biggest defamation case in Australian history.

As a self-representing co-defendant I am cross-claiming against Mark Darwin and collaborators for malicious prosecution, since their defamation claim against me takes the form of a “SLAPP”, a legal trick designed according to the “Law of the Brute” to prioritise a litigant’s lust for gain over legitimate public concerns.

SLAPPs put profits before people by setting up an unfair Goliath v David battle between private and public interests, in which an overwhelming threat of litigation is used to silence critics and prevent free speech on issues of public concern. Everyone has the right to provide true information and discuss honest opinions that  expose such scams in the public interest. Facing-off against Goliath in the unequal slugfest are David's stone-slinging shepherd boys who have been fleeced and stand on their right to call such scurrilous profiteering just what it is: a “fraud”.

SLAPPs, “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” are an abuse of legal process in which power and profit almost always win against truth and justice, without ever going to trial. Litigants often drag out their costly cases for many years, not with the aim of winning and claiming damages, but as a means of “slapping” their opponents with punishment until they capitulate. Political and environmental activists are often “slapped” in malicious retaliation when the threaten corporate interests, and local public interest groups have been “slapped” to prevent them effectively exposing private economic interests that trample pubic concerns.

SLAPPs by plaintiffs who assume their private profits are more important than public interests are common in America, but they’re used infrequently in Australia, mostly by property developers to target and silence outspoken individuals who oppose them on public interest environmental matters.   One Judge described SLAPPs as, “suits without substantial merit, brought by private interests to stop citizens exercising political rights or punish them for having done so.”

Defamation charges are used by a plaintiff in a SLAPP as a powerful and effective bludgeon to traumatise and silence opponents who are literally “slapped down” with a massive weight of obfuscating evidence intended to cause an intimidating fear of crippling costs, damages and loss of reputation. The fear alone is usually enough to force the victim’s acquiescence to the litigant’s agenda of injustice before the matter goes to trial.

With a flourish of characteristic malice, Darwin’s statement of claim prominently featured gruesome photos of strangled goats along with a defamatory caption to effect that I am a “serial pest, crazy torturer and murderer of small animals.”  Darwin then posted this fabricated narrative on his website that is dedicated to defamation of me, where he linked further gloating ad hominem attacks to a copy of private correspondence by Nimbin GoodTimes’ lawyer who had accepted Darwin’s offer to discontinue litigation against the publisher in exchange for throwing me under the bus by removing the article, issuing a retraction and publishing full-page promotions of their land-share venture for the next year.

My article, copied at with additional visual commentary, was based on a draft chapter of a book I am writing about my experience as one of the victims of Mark Darwin’s fraud. The exposé was written as “The Truth about Truthology”, and retitled by Bob Dooley, editor and publisher of Nimbin’s colourful monthly newspaper,  as “TheTruth About Bhula Bhula”.

In his statement of claim against me, Darwin linked the Nimbin GoodTimes article with emails I had sent to other defrauded investors as we discovered we were trapped in a fraud. These private emails were intercepted and used out of context without permission of myself or the intended recipients. Darwin has charged that the publication of these truths and honest opinions about the falseology of “Truthology”, had damaged the plaintiffs' reputations and caused them financial loss.

At Friday’s directions hearing the plaintiffs’ barrister sought leave to submit an additional claim regarding two blogs that I publish for the “Association of Investors Defrauded by Darwin” (AIDD). Leave was granted to file an application for an interlocutory hearing to press for an injunction to have the blogs removed by court order.

The trial of the SLAPP  case will determine the truth of “The Truth about Truthology”. In this analogy,  the right of “Goliath” assumed by Mark Darwin and his mates is their right to profit from the sale of home-sites located on land where no habitation is permitted, and then misuse the power of the courts to disenfranchise betrayed investors without restitution.

The protection of free speech in Australia is embodied in the Commonwealth Constitution, which, for the legitimate functioning of representative government, presumes that citizens do have the ability to freely communicate their views.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Mt Burrell Land Scam Exposed in Criminal Prosecution

An alleged multi-million-dollar investment fraud offering fake shares in a Mt Burrell “Eco Village” was challenged in a private prosecution at Murwillumbah Court, NSW, on March 28th. Founders of the land-share initiative, Mark Darwin and Adrian Brennock with company directors Steven McSween and Richard Moate, were charged with criminal fraud and larceny. They declined to appear in court but were represented by Byron Bay solicitor Ian McKay, instructed to plead “Not Guilty." Court Orders set a schedule for filing evidence. 
Mt Warning Eco Village advertising lots for sale at

The private prosecution was initiated by defrauded investor Gi Linda, who also filed a statutory demand on the company Wollumbin Horizons Pty Ltd, starting winding-up procedures to stop the land-share scam. With a federal police investigation of the alleged fraud in progress and civil litigation by defrauded investors stalled, the criminal prosecution was initiated to fast-track justice. The aim is to achieve restitution for creditors with urgent claims now totaling over $2.7 million, including failed investments, delinquent loans, misappropriation of superannuation, defamation and destruction and theft of property.
Optional cabins are offered at Mt Warning Eco Village
Supporting evidence documents a fraud that began in 2014, involving sale of lots in “Bhula Bhula  Community” without advising potential investors that the advertised land-share sites were located on environmentally protected land where no dwellings are permitted. The community failed, leaving angry investors bereft a year ago, yet the audacious fraud was continued with an ambitious new venture — Mt Warning Eco Village — an even larger proposed “intentional community” at Mt Burrell. Misleading advertising offers residential lots with optional cabins on 3,500 pristine acres with lilly-clad lagoons and mountain views, where it is clearly known by the accused that habitation is prohibited.

Association of Investors Defrauded by Mark Darwin

Environmentally protected land offered for habitation at Mt Warning Eco Village

Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Truth About Bhula Bhula

By Gi Linda
Nimbin GoodTimes  --  October Issue p.4

Rainmaker Eco Cult
Legal action is in process by disillusioned investors in a community at Mt Burrell, near Nimbin. The community was founded by Mark Darwin through his organisation, ‘Truthology’. Investors warn that ‘Truthology’ presents a matrix of lies, using misleading marketing to facilitate acquisition of multi-million-dollar properties. Litigating investors attempting to recover losses and damages totalling more than $1.5 million also filed a police fraud report, sought protection against harassment and are pressing charges of defamation.

Mark Darwin Truthology
 Investors paid up to $120,000 for fake shares in the 640 acre property and some also transferred their superannuation, falsely assured by Mark Darwin that development applications were in process. Tweed Council’s warnings that no community would be permitted on the property were kept hidden. Only an inner circle knew that the advertised lots were protected for water catchment to a proposed dam at Byrrill Creek. An independent town planning report advising that multiple occupancy would not be allowed was hidden from investors, who began building dream-homes with exotic mountain views.

When Mark Darwin contemptuously called Mt Burrell ‘Hicksville’ boasting he would build the ‘village’ in defiance of council regulations, locals began investigating his past activities. Finding a long trail of murky footprints, they opposed him with a ‘Hicksville Party’ and activated a ‘Committee to Stop Mark Darwin’ that complained to Tweed Council about the emerging shanty-town in an environmentally protected area.

Bhula Bhula CultThe community ‘Bhula-Bhula’ was advertised as an opportunity for ‘living in harmony,’ but soon after it began, the harmony was shattered by conflict. Those who sniffed a scam and called for accountability were menaced and driven out of the community. When an accidental fire in a camper almost set the forest ablaze, Tweed Council ordered everyone to leave. Investors were driven off the property without return of their funds and without share titles. Loans were not repaid. Despite calls for transparency, all books were hidden. The cattle were sold and abandoned paddocks overgrown with weeds.  A sign bolted to the broken front gate warned ‘ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!’

With Tweed Council and departing investors initiating litigation, Mark Darwin gifted free shares in the property to Aboriginal Sovereignty activist Gunham / Mark McMurtry, who moved his family into the abandoned homestead. Scorning ethics and government regulation as irrelevant, Mark Darwin’s clique continued marketing fake shares in property where no habitation is permitted. They cleared more forest, built new access roads and expanded their hot offer to include sale of unapproved lots with cabins on 3,000 acres of adjoining property in Nightcap Forest.

“Is the bubble about to burst?” The Truthology website provokes fears of immanent financial collapse as the community ‘village’ is promoted as an “ethical investment opportunity” at public meetings and ‘Freedom Summits’ in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne Perth, the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.
 “What drives us is the opportunity to offer everyday Australians the option of investing their hard earned digits into ethical, eco-friendly, community driven projects. Many of our clients are also inspired by being able to vote with their superannuation by directing it into ethical, tangible and socially responsible areas.”

Adrian Brennock controlled the Mt Burrell property holding a single share of value $1 in Wollumbin Horizons Pty Ltd. This shell links to a web of other companies managed by Rainmaker Eco Investments.
In contrast to the losses of investors, the directors of Rainmaker Eco, did quite well last year. Living in beachfront luxury with holidays in Bali, Adrian Brennock and Philip Dixon bid on various million-dollar properties and successfully acquired the commercial precinct at Mt Burrell, including Sphinx Rock Cafe, shops, service station and caravan park.

Ignoring the debris of financial carnage, conflict and grief, Rainmaker Eco, with marketing manager Kelly McSween, brazenly continues advertising opportunities to invest in Mt Burrell ‘village,’ as Mark Darwin boldly calls for new cashed-up believers to finance his expanding dystopia: “This is a unique opportunity to buy into an entire village!!” 

Buyer beware, before your investment takes a one-way trip into the back pocket of a stranger’s snakeskin pants!