ACN 007 395 048
41 VILLAGE AVENUE,
June 6th 2000
TO/ ACCC – Victoria,
Regional Director, Tom Fahy
Level 35, The Tower
360 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(GPO Box 520J, Melbourne VIC 3001)
Tel: (03) 9290 1800
Fax: (03) 9663 3699
I wish to complain about the illegal
restraint of trade our company Kotabi Pty Ltd is facing as a result of
unlawful actions by the Victorian Government Solicitor (VGS). Their actions
violate the trade practices act, which we understand that you regulate.
In June this year he faxed and wrote
all major booksellers and told them not to sell two of our book titles.
The action was in contempt of a court judgement dated 18 April 2000.
Our company is suffering greatly as
are many other retailers who sell the relevant books.
Please can you:-
1/ Order that the VGS remove their
unlawful threats and
2/ Direct that they pay us monetary compensation for damages incurred so
A more detailed account of the sequence
of events follows:-
This is something author Raymond Hoser
and publisher Kotabi were not meant to find out – you’ll see why shortly.
The exact origins of this latest saga
are not entirely certain, but we have a few facts that are not in dispute
– so we’ll run with these.
In late 1999, Adam Anthony Zoccoli
– a convicted extortionist issued a writ against Raymond Hoser and his
publisher Kotabi claiming defamation in the book Victoria Police Corruption.
The claim was defended by both Hoser and publisher.
Zoccoli was described in the book as
a man who sought payment from one or more victims he helped set-up on drug
charge/s. The monies sought were so that Zoccoli would arrange with bent
police to sabotage the charges and get the victim off. The victim identified
in the book was Salvatore Marabito (then) of Greensborough.
Further details in relation to the
Zoccoli writ and his past can be found at:-
However these actions are not directly
relevant to our immediate complaint and/or what we seek you to do.
On 16 February 2000 Zoccoli wrote to
Ms. E. Carnovale of the Victorian Attorney General’s Department seeking
Attorney General Rob Hulls to charge author and
publisher with "contempt of court".
On 8 March 2000, Zoccoli was sent a
reply from Rob Hulls himself that gave a non-committal response.
In early 2000 Zoccoli sought an injunction
from the Victorian Supreme Court to ban sales of the book. He was backed
by an unlikely coalition including the Victorian Ombudsman’s office, from
which Mr. Brian Hardiman made a sworn statement to assist Zoccoli’s case.
On 18 April 2000, Justice
Gillard refused Zoccoli’s application and stated that book sales for
the book should proceed. In other words any attempts to stop sales of
the book would now constitute a contempt of court.
It appears that Zoccoli was unhappy
with the result and unwilling to abide by the rules of the umpire.
In the week immediately following the
court result, a number of booksellers telephoned Raymond Hoser to advise
him that Zoccoli had personally gone into shops and told them not to sell
the book Victoria Police Corruption as he was suing Hoser. Such
an action would of course be a contempt of court.
Corroboration of the fact came when
Hoser was passed a copy of a fax from Dymocks Bookseller’s Head Office
dated 27 April telling all stores to remove the book from sale. The fax
stated defamation litigation as the reason. The only defamation action
relating to the book in train at the time (and at least to end June 2000)
was the Zoccoli matter. However the Zoccoli side had failed to get a court
order restraining sales, just nine days earlier.
Hoser wrote to Dymocks and provided
them a copy of the Gillard judgement of 18 April 2000. Dymocks notified
their stores of the same and resumed selling books through their outlets.
On 22 June, 2000 Hoser walked into
Collins Booksellers Airport West and asked why they were not selling the
book Victoria Police Corruption. The shop
had previously moved large quantities of the title. Hoser was told that
stock had been recalled by head office a fortnight or so earlier. Likewise
for a second title called Victoria Police Corruption – 2 also published
Hoser obtained a copy of a fax from
Collins Booksellers head office recalling all books. The letter stated
that the Victorian Government Solicitor had directed the recall due to
pending contempt of court proceedings.
Other booksellers similarly directed
by the Victorian Government Solicitor were Angus and Robertson and Dymocks
(again!), as well as "Better Read than Dead" in Sydney. All complied
with the directive.
In the letter to Dymocks dated 2nd
June 2000 (which was a standard letter), Mr. John Butler of the Victorian
Government Solicitor’s Department said ‘Should the contemptuous publications
remain on sale through your outlets, I will recommend to the Attorney General
that he instruct me to commence proceedings for contempt of court’.
As of final post on 23 June 2000 Hoser
had not received any phone calls, letters, faxes, e-mails or other communications
from the Attorney General’s department including the Victorian Government
Solicitor. This is in spite of some weeks elapsing between their first
directive to shops to stop selling the books.
As a result, Hoser wrote to the Attorney
General Rob Hulls seeking an end to the tactics of his subordinate that
was unlawfully stopping sales. The letters from Butler were also in contempt
of Justice Gillard’s decision and judgement of 18 April 2000.
On Monday 25 June 2000 the book distributors
for the title Victoria Police Corruption (namely Kirby Books) received
by post a letter from Butler telling them to stop sales or risk being charged
with contempt of court. Butler threatened the company with imprisonment,
He set a deadline of 4 PM 23 June 2000
for the company to give a written confirmation of compliance before he
would seek to instructions to sue them for contempt of court. The deadline
preceded the date Kirby got their letter.
As of 6 July 2000, neither Hulls has
responded to Hoser’s letter of 23 June, nor has Hoser heard a word from
Butler or anyone else in the Attorney General’s Department (including the
Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office).
Sales of the books Victoria Police
Corruption and Victoria Police Corruption – 2 have now been
effectively stopped in all bookshops and this is a contempt of court. Sales
have gone from a peak of about $10,000 worth per month to virtually nil.
The public is being deprived its right
to know, Mr. John Butler is himself acting in contempt of his own Supreme
Court and an Australian company (Kotabi) is being unlawfully bankrupted.
There are a few other relevant facts
worth noting. Hulls was given copies of the books Victoria Police Corruption
and Victoria Police Corruption – 2 in August 1999, before Kennett
called the State Election. It is preposterous that a year after their release,
Hull’s department could even contemplate banning the books.
A further irony is that had it not
been for the book Victoria Police Corruption Labor in Victoria (Hull’s
own party) would still be in opposition. Hundreds were sold in Geelong
prior to the September 1999 election and the seat went to Labor by just
16 votes. Without that seat, they’d still be in opposition – you work it
Hulls has also been contacted on Hoser’s
behalf by the following people, his Sydney lawyer, Alex Tees, Susan Davies,
MP for Gippsland, Steve Gibbons (Federal MP) and others. As of 6 July 2000,
Hulls and his underling Mr. Butler remain in their bunker, refuse to speak
to anyone and continue to illegally ban two corruption books. Complaints
about the illegal censorship have flown in from all over the world including
Germany, the USA, etc.
Full details – including original copies
of relevant letters referred to above, etc, for republication, can be found
Please can you acknowledge receipt
of this letter immediately (by POST), and act on our complaints forthwith.
E-mail your protest to the Australian government now simply by clicking here...