The Flat Earth Science
“It is an Experimental Treatment, Not a Cure” - Michael Cho
- After watching Michael Honsue Cho’s marketing video, what would any reasonable person believe, are the products ‘experimental cancer cures’ as Cho is now claiming in his defamation application against me or some sure cancer cures as preached in the video?
- As I prepare to appeal against the default judgment granted by a Brisbane Court, I believe that this judgment will have some unintended consequences if left unchallenged; its’ ramification to free flow of information and to all advocates of free speech around the world is quite grave. Imagine Australia starting to export defamation suits against individual journalists and not even the owners.
- On Friday April 12, 2019, the Brisbane District Court granted a Default Judgment against me for defamation in favour of Michael Honsue Cho. I have been ordered to pull down the first three articles pertaining to Photosoft and NGPDT and to pay to Cho $350,000 plus his cost.
- I believe that this decision was unfairly sought and granted; for that reason, I plead with my Australian audience, not to read past here…
- The inventor of 'cures' tells a Brisbane Court; “Photosoft and NGPDT are experimental cancer treatments. I am aware that they have been presented to both prospective customers (patients) and investors as such.”
- It can either be a cure or not, the PR-speaks of experimental is like presenting scientific results showing the earth to be flat.
After watching Michael Honsue Cho’s marketing video, what would any reasonable person believe, are the products ‘experimental cancer cures’ as Cho is now claiming in his defamation application or some sure cancer cures as preached in the video?
As I prepare to appeal against the default judgment, I believe that ramification of this judgment is quite grave to free flow of information and to all advocates of free speech around the world that it has to be challenged otherwise Australia will soon be including defamation suits among her lists of exports.
If it were my understanding of the contents of various videos featuring Scott Water prove to have been inadequate, I will surrender my position as the editor of uSpiked with immediate effect or as soon as my replacement is found.
On April 12, a Brisbane District Court granted a default judgement against me. The granted order has far-reaching consequences to all journalists whose works are published online. I had opted to not argue my defence on this platform, but that has since changed. I am in the process of appealing the Brisbane Court“s decision at the same court.
I had initially opted not to defend the defamation suit in Australia, but I changed my mind soon after Michael Honsue Cho’s lawyers served me with email copies of their sets of application for default judgment.
The first thing I encountered was the issue of time. The email serving me with the papers landed on my inbox the morning of March 27 with the matter set down for hearing on April 12, 2019. That wouldn’t have been a problem had the suit been filed within the jurisdiction of South Africa.
However, to adequately file my defence at the Brisbane Court by at least April 11 (and considering the time difference of eight-plus hours) was logistically not possible. I would lose a day to the time-zone factor alone and as I subsequently learnt, to my detriment, at least five days for a priority courier service from Cape Town to Brisbane.
Furthermore, it was not a simple case of having my opposing affidavit commissioned. It had to be notarised by a Notary Public who stamped each and every page of the documents; the set of which had to be affirmed and sealed by the Western Cape High Court. This process took time, despite using the excellent services of one of the oldest law firms in the Southern Hemisphere. Therefore, I lost over seven days of my allotted time due to Mr Cho’s decision to sue me in his preferred jurisdiction of Brisbane, Australia, which is 11,700 kilometres from where I publish my work.
Cho’s lawyers, from an international law firm, Jones Day, with over 20 offices worldwide, were obviously fully aware of the prejudicial nature of giving an overseas respondent such tight timelines for filing. Furthermore, shouldn’t it be incumbent for the Brisbane Court to remind the applicants to provide additional time to a respondent who is based overseas?
My second issue was the cost. Upon receiving via email the application papers on March 27, 2019, I approached a few legal firms in Brisbane to advice on procedures and costs. By April 1 I had rough quotations and I was astonished to note it would cost at least R350,000 or about USD25,000 to prepare and have an appearance at hearing on April 12. That’s quite a large sum for any journalist to have lying around.
R350,000 is enough to construct three RDP houses in South Africa or pay a month’s salary for 100 new workers, at the new minimum wage rate. For me, with that amount, I could also buy my high blood pressure medicine for the next forty-one and a half years.
Photosoft and NGPDT are experimental cancer treatments. I am aware that they have been presented to both prospective customers (patients) and investors as such.
Now, let us peruse the ‘Founding Affidavit’ of the Applicant, Mr Michael Honsue Cho, whose name I have now been gagged by the Default Judgment from mentioning even if I were to witness him behaving badly.
In the Affidavit, he swears that...“Photosoft and NGPDT are experimental cancer treatments. I am aware that they have been presented to both prospective customers (patients) and investors as such.”
But since that is not what The Cho Group has been selling, I still maintain it was a ‘fraudulent scheme to milk desperate and vulnerable cancer patients and investors.’
The company did not mention to patients I talked to that Photosoft and NGPDT were experimental treatment’. There were no reasons why all the cancer patients I spoke to could have forgotten that very important word; ‘experimental’ and not a cure, and so I believed them. Those patients had nothing to gain from withholding such vital information. So, why did the local agents operators of The Cho Group’s products withhold that information from their patients?
We know why that information only surfaced in court. In Health Sciences there’s nothing known as an experimental treatment. My friends who have mastered medicine informed me that the closest to that is a clinical trial. Now, clinical trials are highly regulated and closely supervised. One’s inventions could either be with approval authorities or with investigators undertaking clinical trials, with clearly stated protocols outlining the primary outcome measures as well as clearly published results.
The Cho Group did not have primary outcome measures and published results to show to their patients in South Africa. Patients were simply told the treatment is a ‘sure cure’. And when some patients complained loudly enough, a Dr. Donald Murphy, the same one who had an hour long discussion with me in defence of the questionable products. The same Dr. Murphy whose name appears on top of the claimed Informed Consent Form. the same urologist who coined the word pre-trial study.
I felt that Cho’s application was wrong and had to be stopped. I decided not to wait for Mr Cho to try and enforce whatever order he’d obtain from Brisbane. Rather I took the limited time available to mount a personal spirited defence, which ran into just under 100 pages including corresponding evidence. Additionally, I included a memory stick containing footage of Scott Water flogging the products as cures.
I am currently trying to legally get CCTV footage of a Trade Expo held by The Cho Group in Malaysia in 2009 to establish if Mr Michael Honsue Cho was among those present. The Brisbane Court might be keen to know why he presented untruths to court. The videos I am referring to are still available on the company’s YouTube Channels.
When Scott Waters had the opportunity to communicate with the court as to what he knew about the matter, the smooth talker simply became a character witness for his long-term friend.
The Cho Group’s videos do not mention that the products are experimental treatment. Cho could not have found the article ‘Men of Fake Cancer Cures’ defamatory after watching the embedded video starring his business partner and friend of eighteen years, Scott Waters. Waters testimony did not mention the YouTube videos and I found that suspicious.
I called the registry of the Brisbane District Court to find out whether I could file my defence from Cape Town. I was told it was possible, as long as I presented my papers in their original forms.
Once my notarised and High Court sealed papers were ready, I presented them to FedEx to courier to Brisbane. I called the Court Registry again asking if they could accept a soft copy of the same pending the delivery of the couriered documents. I was told I could email the documents and I did.
The registry can only accept originally signed documents in hard copy. No action will be taken with the emailed documents. The originals will be filed upon receipt.
A few hours after sending the email copies to the provided email address, I received an email from the Client Communication Unit of the Court, which advised; “The registry can only accept originally signed documents in hard copy. No action will be taken with the emailed documents. The originals will be filed upon receipt.”
The email did not bother me as I was hoping against all hopes that FedEx would deliver in good time. I, however, found the footer of the email ironical. At the bottom of the email response from Kieran Hunter, the Court’s Services Officer was a request to ...“Please think about the environment before you print this message.” That same Court is unable to accept electronic filing of defence materials.
I further sent the same email copy to Michael Cho’s lawyers and an associate at the firm copied me in a communication she had with the courts as follows;
“District Court of Queensland Proceeding No. 1707/18 (‘Proceeding’)
“We refer to the above Proceeding which is listed for hearing before his Honour at 10:00 am tomorrow.
“The purpose of this email is to notify his Honour that we have received the below email and attachment this evening from the defendant to the Proceeding, Mark Thomas. We will bring a printed copy of this material to Court tomorrow.
“We have copied the defendant to this email.”
Since I was not at the Brisbane Court on the morning of April 12, 2019, I have no idea how the court responded to the presentation of the hard copies of my defence as undertaken by Jones Day, or if the copies were presented at all. Maybe the court rejected the copies because they were after all not the originally signed copies. A transcript of the proceedings, which would later become available for my appeal, would clarify what happened in court on April 12 when Michael Honsue Cho was granted the order he had sought.
It was clear that Michael Honsue Cho’s main claim is that I misrepresented his products and how they were marketed. According to Cho, the inventor of Photosoft and NGPDT, these are ‘experimental cancer treatment’ and “not sure cures for cancer.”
In 2009 when The Cho Group personalities were trying to have their products accepted by the Malaysian Health Ministry, they held an Expo where they marketed the products. The contents of the video presentation by Scott Waters are still on YouTube, and I urge you (as I attempted to request the Brisbane Court to do the same) to view and make up your own minds.
Michael Cho in his affidavit testifies that he is fully aware of all aspects within the running of the Cho Group. But his YouTube Channels tell a different story.
If Cho was unaware of how Scott Waters was marketing his inventions, the least he could have done after I published the concerns of our investigations was to ascertain how his products were being marketed.
Another concerning issue is Brett Heading’s involvement in the case. Before joining Jones Day, we had noted that Mr Heading was the Chairman of ASX-listed Invion Limited, a company whose majority shareholder is The Cho Group.
What exactly was Heading’s Invion Ltd selling to investors? Were they experimental treatments or sure cures? Why did the American Asset Management Company reconsider their interest in investing in The Cho Group’s companies?
The medics we talked to explained that the words experimental treatment’ can only be used by someone seeking to avoid vigorous and highly supervised clinical trials which are usually approved by regulatory authorities and subjected to peer-reviews.
Cho’s papers praying for the default judgment included one marked as JGP-1, which included an email from a Mr Hammock and Brown of Savoy Group terminating the agreement they had entered into with the Cho Group’s Invion Limited.
Another included document was communication between Brett Heading and a Google’s consultant. In the communication, Heading sought to have Google remove uSpiked’s URLs exposing the inefficacy of Photosoft and NGPDT and to exclude them from search results.
Cho’s lawyer (who had been heavily involved with Invion Ltd.) had sought to have the revelation removed from Google’s search results. Operation clean up was at work — it had to appear business as usual at the Cho Group and Brett Heading, their Jones Day lawyer, associated via his previous Chairmanship at Invion Ltd.) couldn’t be linked to unsavoury claims such as fake cancer cures. That would not work well for any lawyer specialising in among other things, mergers and acquisitions.
This request to Google was not acted upon since Cho’s lawyer had failed to pinpoint the exact text in the published articles his client deemed defamatory. Additionally, the consultant at Google who communicated with Heading reminded him that the Australian defamation law he had relied on did not provide room for defamation of corporations.
This could explain why when it came to instituting the suit, Michael Honsue Cho had to step up and replace his two corporations (The Cho Group and RMW Cho Group Pty Ltd.) on whose behalf the cease and desist letter had been delivered to me nearly 36 months earlier.
Unfortunately for my defence, the originally signed defence documents were only delivered to the Brisbane Court on April 16, 2019. (Four days after the hearing was held). The delay was not of my own making, I tried my best to ensure the documents were delivered in time through the FedEx priority delivery option, which promised delivery to Brisbane within two to three working days, subject to availability of flights.