Brethren units sue Scottish academic for moral prejudice

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Brethren units sue Scottish academic for moral prejudice

Post by LadyKiwi » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:48 am

Brethren units sue Scottish academic for moral prejudice
By Nick Miller
29 January 2019 — 6:39pm

London: An Australian arm of the fundamental Christian sect the Exclusive Brethren is suing a Scottish academic for hundreds of thousands of dollars, in a move that former members of the sect say is an attempt to silence him and other critics of the group.

The sect claims Ian McKay, a former lecturer at Glasgow University who left the Brethren in 1969, has breached their copyright by quoting from its Ministries and by scanning copies of a church address book.

Legal documents filed in a Scottish court and seen by the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reveal that an Australian business and a UK charity, both linked to the Brethren, have demanded more than a quarter of a million pounds – around half a million dollars – in costs and damages from McKay.
A friend of McKay said the legal action meant he “faces bankruptcy and ruin”.

McKay was not the only person who had received similar legal demands, though this was one of few that had made it to court, she said.

The friend, who is also an ex-Brethren member, said the group "do it to threaten us, to silence us, to make us feel afraid”.

The secretive Brethren, now known as the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, is a Christian-based religious sect led by multi-millionaire Sydney businessman Bruce D. Hales.

According to the court documents it claims to have 17,000 members in the UK and 14,000 in Australia.

Former members call it a cult.

McKay has been part of an online effort by many former members to throw light on the group’s activities.

But in September last year he was hit with two legal actions in the Scottish Court of Session.

The first action, from the Bible and Gospel Trust, the sect’s printing arm registered as a tax-free charity in the UK, seeks £100,000 in damages ($182,000) for publishing online “at least 15 quotes” from church publications known as the Helpful Ministries.

“He acquired and made use of the Helpful Ministries in a furtive manner,” the Trust claimed, “in the full knowledge that he was doing so against the wishes of the [PBCC]”.

The extracts that McKay allegedly published include revelations such as Bruce Hales’ list of 27 places where Exclusive Brethren should not go, including the newsagent, the cinema, football or cricket matches, restaurants, hotels and bars, fireworks displays, swimming pools, universities or the zoo.

He also quoted text from a Brethren publication by John S Hales, Bruce's father, talking about “terrible influences that are coming from the devil about equality of women” and calling women’s liberation “a falsehood”.

The Trust claimed it was “unable to quantify the damage it has suffered” until it had found out the full extent of McKay’s copyright breach, but was also seeking damages for “the moral prejudice that it has suffered by reason of the infringements”.

It also asked the court to order McKay to reveal who provided him with the sermons – and to name anyone he had shown them to.

The second legal action is by Universal Business Team, a Brethren-controlled Sydney business that, according to the documents, “compiles and produces books” for the PBCC. It seeks £181,000 pounds in damages.

The books include the names and other personal details of PBCC members around the world.

According to the legal documents McKay offered to scan some address books belonging to another former Brethren member, and then sent a link to the scanned PDFs back to that member.

McKay is accused of authorising others to make further copies of the PDFs, and issuing them to the public.

This, the company claimed, amounted to a “large scale copyright infringement” that led to complaints regarding a subsequent edition from people who did not want their names in the address books any more.

The Sydney Morning Herald / The Age attempted to contact the Trust for comment.

McKay he said he was unable to comment on the case as it was before the courts.

Jill Aebi-Mytton, a former Brethren member and a friend of McKay, said he was “extremely anxious” about the legal action.

“The trauma of all of this will tell on him and on their whole family,” she said. “What’s happened is just so unfair… [and] if they win it will impact on us all, it will give them a precedent to attack the rest of us.”

Jill Mytton
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Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:02 pm

Re: Brethren units sue Scottish academic for moral prejudice

Post by Jill Mytton » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:56 pm

Thank you for posting this LadyK - it outlines very clearly what Ian is up against. We must help him. Please can every reader of this message think.... can I spare maybe £5 or AUD10 etc to help Ian. I feel sure you can. It would help him so much. We need him to stand tall and he is doing that but ......

Here is the link to the fund and if anyone is on twitter please follow me @amalekgroup and retweet my tweets! ... -extremist

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