This story to me reinforces why we need to temper our language and make clear that we object to the policies and any illegal or immoral actions that the organization does, not try to incite hatred toward the people or suggest that all actions that the organization takes toward members is unfair or unwarranted.
Brett Darren Mardon has denied poisoning the milk of a Jehovah’s Witness elder with weed killer.
A DISGRUNTLED Jehovah’s Witness was caught on camera poisoning his elder’s milk with weed killer after being excommunicated over an extramarital affair, a court has heard.
For the first time, The Advertiser can name and show Brett Darren Mardon, who is standing trial accused of attempting to put three lives at risk — the elder, his wife and their young child.
He has denied injecting milk, apple juice and other liquids in the refrigerator of Ben Anthanysz with glyphosate — a weed killer that causes health problems if consumed in large quantities.
Mardon has maintained his innocence of the charges despite being recorded by a CCTV camera mounted in the Anthanysz’s kitchen.
Opening the trial, prosecutor Nick Healy said Mardon’s actions were a vengeful response to his church peers ignoring his existence, as required by their faith.
He said Mr Anthanysz had been part of a three-person Jehovah’s Witness committee that censured Mardon “for having sex with someone while married”.
The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses at Mount Lofty.
“Mardon was part of the Jehovah’s Witness congregation based at Crafers, and was excommunicated because of moral issues,” he said.
“An excommunicated member is still entitled to attend church meetings, however none of the congregation can speak to him while they are there.”
Mardon, 47, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempting to create a risk of harm and three counts of serious criminal trespass in a place of residence.
He has pleaded guilty, however, to two counts of theft — namely stealing personal documents from Mr Anthanysz’s home.
Mardon’s alleged conduct was first reported by the Sunday Mail in March 2012 but, at that time, his name and image could not be published for legal reasons.
Brett Darren Mardon at the District Court, where he is standing trial.
His trial, before Judge Rauf Soulio, is taking place in the absence of a jury.
In his opening address, Mr Healy said Mardon committed his criminal acts while Mr Anthanysz and his family were away from their Stirling home, attending church.
He said Mardon had come into possession of Mr Anthanysz’s house keys sometime before.
“Since about April 2011, Mr Anthanysz suspected something was going on,” he said.
“They would come home and find that items such as milk and apple juice had been interfered with, they would have a chemical taste.
“On one occasion, the young child spat out his Weet-Bix because of the taste.”
Mr Healy said the family’s foodstuffs were interfered with “virtually every time they went to church”, prompting Mr Anthanysz to install a CCTV camera in the kitchen.
He said the camera recorded Mardon opening the fridge, and a subsequent police search of his home recovered glyphosate and unused syringes.
“It’s not our case that Mardon was attempting to kill anyone, or even make anyone violently ill ... it’s our case he was reckless as to whether harm was caused,” he said.
“That’s bearing in mind that Mr Anthanysz had a young child, and weed killer was going into liquids you would expect young children to drink.”
The trial continues.