This is a story by stealth.
This is something the general public was not meant to ever find out...
It was also something corruption author Raymond Hoser and his publisher Kotabi, were not meant to find out ... or at least not in a hurry – 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.
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.
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, fines, etc.
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 3 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.
As for the bit about Raymond Hoser not being meant to find out - here's the part of note ... If Raymond Hoser had been in contempt of court and the Victorian Government Solicitor (VGS) had been doing everything above board, then why didn't they simply contact author and/or publisher in the first instance. Why did they contact everyone else possible and tell them to stop selling the books, but at no stage approach the logical source of the books first? - What were they hiding???
As for the "contempt of court" part - well forget it! You see on 21 October 1999, the High Court of Australia ruled on the matter of "scandalizing the court" and contempt. That judgement proves that the statements by Hulls and his representatives are lies. Hoser is not in contempt and they know it!
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 out!
Rob Hulls has also been contacted on Hoser’s behalf by the following people, his Sydney lawyer, Alex Tees, and others. However a number of politicians have actually come out in support of the illegal banning of the books. These include State ALP Member for Brunswick, Carlo Carli and others. As of 5 August 2000, Hulls and his underling (VGS) Mr. Butler remain in their bunker, refuse to speak to anyone and continue to illegally ban the two corruption books.
The ban is also in violation of the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights", articles 19 and 27. Australia is supposedly a signatory to the treaty.
The story in full has been reported in The Strategy - Australia's quality newspaper that doesn't hesitate to tell the facts as they are.
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View the relevant letters, etc:-
ALLOW A FULL FOUR MINUTES TO DOWNLOAD EACH PAGE AS JPEGS
- Rob Hull's reply to Adam Anthony Zoccoli dated 8 March 2000.(one page)
- Dymocks Recall Notice dated 27 April 2000.(one page)
- VGS Letter to Dymocks Booksellers dated 2 June 2000.(one page)
- Collins booksellers recall notice of 13 June 2000(one page)
- Letter from Hoser to Rob Hulls dated 23 June 2000.(one page)
- VGS letter to Kirby Book Distributors dated 19 June 2000.(two pages)
- Hulls' dept. letter to Kotabi ordering books. (two pages)
Normal Websites (relevant documents, etc):
- Supreme Court Judgement of 18 April 2000.
- More on Adam Anthony Zoccoli.
- Download or view a picture of Rob Hulls, the man responsible for and who approved of the illegal banning of the books.
- Download or view a picture of Carlo Carli (MP) who actively supported the illegal ban of the books.
- High Court ruling/s on contempt.
- Letter to ACCC re ban.
- Rob Hulls' department orders banned books!
- Letter to Rob Hulls re his department's book orders.
- Letter to the United Nations Re ban.