Universal Medicine founder Serge Benhayon at the Supreme Court in Sydney.
Universal Medicine founder Serge Benhayon at the Supreme Court in Sydney. AAP

Universal Medicine 'harvested' client info, court told

By Sam McKeith

A BLOGGER being sued for defamation by Universal Medicine founder Serge Benhayon was concerned about the Lismore-based group "harvesting" clients' medical information, a court has been told.

Mr Benhayon, 54, is suing the blogger and former client, Esther Rockett, for defamation in the NSW Supreme Court over a series of alleged online claims about him, including that he was a cult leader.

Ms Rockett has pleaded a number of defences including truth and honest opinion.

In her third day giving evidence at the three-week trial, Ms Rockett said she was worried a "consent form" for the group's "workshops and presentations" asked for client medical information, including about HIV and hepatitis.

She said she was also concerned the consent form for what she described as "one-day" workshops that sometimes ran for just a "few hours each", asked clients to list medications.

"This caused me great concern," she told the court, describing the form as "harvesting" information from clients.

In her evidence, Ms Rockett also told the court that she became aware, in August 2014, that Universal Medicine was trying to start an exercise program called "true movement" and another initiative, "teachers are gold", both aimed at schools.

She said after becoming aware of the initiatives she notified schools and the education department.

"I was concerned because ... by then I was aware of Universal Medicine's practices, the modalities," she told the court.

Ms Rockett also claimed on Friday that a website registered to Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine "vilified people" critical of the group, including a journalist who wrote a story about Ms Rockett's "ovarian reading".

Ms Rockett told the court that after the story was published in June 2014 there was mention on the website of a "tragic circumstance" in the journalist's life.

"I thought that was a completely unwarranted personal attack on somebody," Ms Rockett told the court.

"It was just a lot of allegations and personal slurs ... I didn't give much credit to it."

Ms Rockett had previously given evidence that she never wanted to go near Mr Benhayon again after a 2005 consultation with him in which she said he tried to connect information from her ovaries with her past "experiences with men".

Mr Benhayon, a former bankrupt, has previously told the trial that he can sense spirits in the courtroom and felt "raped" by Ms Rockett's alleged online claims about him.

The hearing continues before Justice Julia Lonergan.



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