SINCE 2005 former Newcastle taxi driver John Christopher Sunol has been in trouble for his online rants against “gays and atheists”, the Sydney Mardi Gras, Muslims and complaints and findings against him by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Now he faces possible contempt action in the NSW Supreme Court – and a possible jail term – after a long history of failing to comply with tribunal orders and “contemptible”, incorrect and “abhorrent” blog allegations against a tribunal member in 2017.
Mr Sunol told a tribunal hearing that he did “not attack people, I debate ideas and philosophies only”, and he was the “victim of a campaign of harassment and vilification” being directed at him.
But tribunal member Acting Judge Francis Marks said Mr Sunol’s constant failure to honour apologies made to the tribunal, failure to remove and refrain from publishing unlawful material, and failure to pay $55,000 in penalties to anti-discrimination activist Garry Burns, “cast considerable doubt” on his undertakings to the tribunal.
“It appears to me, on my own view, that Mr Sunol has conducted himself in a manner which is capable of constituting contempt of this tribunal,” Mr Marks found in a decision on Tuesday, in which Mr Sunol was given until a hearing on May 11 to show cause why a contempt referral should not be made to the Supreme Court.
It appears to me, on my own view, that Mr Sunol has conducted himself in a manner which is capable of constituting contempt of this tribunal.- NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal member Francis Marks
Judge Marks did not accept Mr Sunol’s submission that the blogs were written by another man. He found Mr Sunol’s online rants that he would “never accept” some tribunal orders or “be willing to apologise” to Mr Burns showed a “readiness to defy compliance” with tribunal orders that could be seen as deliberate.
In a rant in 2011 Mr Sunol said he was “speaking out because.. the homo-nazis and femi-nazis are taking away our right to speak against them”, and in a later post he said he believed “we are living in the last days for Christ returns”.
Mr Sunol has repeatedly declared his goal of “ridding Sydney of this Mardi Gras” which he described as a terrorist risk. He described the Anti-Discrimination Board as the “spearhead of the homosexual agenda in NSW”.
Judge Marks noted Mr Sunol claimed to have tertiary qualifications including a Bachelor of Social Science from Newcastle University, and postgraduate degrees from Wollongong University.
In 2014 Mr Sunol lost an appeal to have his taxi licence reinstated after the tribunal heard evidence of 17 complaints against him between 2003 and 2012, including that he fell asleep at the wheel and made “inflammatory comments” about religions and homosexuals to passengers.
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