Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Discrimination — Or Something

For some time, I have sought to rectify a situation through official channels, without success. At the close of my urban ministry, I laid a formal complaint with the Health Professions Council against the "Church Doctor", Dr. Mike Nicholas. His attorney wrote to the Council (the right of reply), purportedly on his behalf -- and the Council sent me a copy of the letter. But rather than being a sensible defence, it looked like religious discrimination to me -- and a classic example at that. For that reason, I submitted the letter to the Human Rights Commission. Ultimately I received three professional opinions:
• From the Human Rights commission: No, wrote the Commission. It was not religious discrimination, but crimen injuria. A criminal offence.
• I showed it to respected city attorneys. It seemed "highly defamatory", they wrote. On the face of it, a criminal offence.
• I followed the Commission's advice, and took it to the police. No, said the police, this was not crimen injuria, but defamation (click ⊳ to Play). I read from the Commission's letter, which lay before us on the desk (that's after the beep in the recording). I was angry -- although I may not show it -- that the police claimed to know better than a "carefully assessed" opinion of the Human Rights Commission. Then it occurred to me: either way it was criminal.
Now here is the "situation". The Health Professions Council formally accepted the (call it) defamation. I said, that is not acceptable. If there are three professional opinions which strongly indicate that a letter is criminal -- not to speak of what I think of it myself -- I do not want it on file in this way. Their Legal Services Officer David Kokong wrote to me this week: "I do not understand how we can help you as we have discharged our onus." I replied, what does the Officer not understand? What is not clear to him?

POSTSCRIPT: It should have been patently obvious to the Council, too, what this was. It seems impossible to miss it. The fact that they did is of fundamental concern. Something went wrong at a deep level in the Health Professions Council. Apologies for the quality of the recording, which is clear if one listens closely.

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