NSW spiritual healer sues for defamation
A NSW spiritual healer suing an ex-client says he explained how he would touch her and that her “compromised energy” suggested she’d been abused by her guru in Japan.
Serge Isaac Benhayon testified he rotated his hands over the uterus of the fully clothed woman and when he found her body was registering “compromise” asked if she had experienced abuse.
The 54-year-old former tennis coach was giving evidence on Tuesday in the NSW Supreme Court where he is suing former acupuncturist Esther Mary Rockett for defamation.
His barrister, Kieran Smark SC, told the four jurors that Ms Rockett defamed his client in a lengthy November 2014 blog, in two comments she later made on the blog and in 17 tweets.
He contended the blog contained defamatory meanings including that Mr Benhayon was the leader of a socially harmful cult, a sexual predator, had indecently touched her in the treatment room, preys on cancer patients and is delusional.
He referred to quotes including: “my claim that Benhayon is a sexual predator is not false”; that her experience began with “a sleazy ovarian reading” and asking how many young girls had stayed in his household.
Ms Rockett is fighting the case – relying on the defences of truth and honest opinion.
Mr Benhayon told the jurors he founded Universal Medicine in northern NSW and was a teacher, practitioner and owner of a business which ran seminars, healing course and retreats.
He had four adult children with his first wife and was now married to Miranda Smith, a tennis student he began to coach at the age of 13 in the late 1980s.
In 2002, his first wife “and I decided to not be in marriage any more”.
“It was a parting based on pure love,” he said on Tuesday.
“It was a necessary move and since then that love has got deeper and deeper and grander.”
On his 35th birthday, he returned to the “deeply joyful and calming” state he’d experienced until the age of nine and became “very still and made access to the living wisdom that is available to everybody”.
This led to seven or eight “modalities” or healing practices including “esoteric healing” – techniques which came from a tradition of “ageless wisdom” going back to Hermes, Plato and Pythagoras.
“Everything is energy and therefore, everything is because of energy,” Mr Benhayon said.
He explained various terms used in his teaching, including karma, fiery energy, energetic responsibility and energetic integrity.
He set up a code of ethics and conduct, which included teaching would-be-practitioners how to touch and apply pressure, for them to fully explain everything that would happen and “how to be as respectful as possible”.
Placing a hand on a woman’s heart would raise “a question of breasts” and he noted a person would know if a touch was sexual.
“We all know who is safe and not safe,” he said. Mr Benhayon will continue his evidence on Wednesday.