The following reply to EntirelyPossible is not mine but is from the XJW in Australia who is sending me his opinions based on research of this case. Barbara If the Governing Body answers the charges in this case, then this would confirm that a "valid charge" has actually been brought against each of them.
EntirelyPossible, you said "that does not follow. simply answering charges does NOT mean you agree they are valid, that simply means you have legal responsibility to answer the charges, nothing else."
What is a "valid charge"?
The term "valid charge" is a theocratic term used in the "Organized" book on page 32. It also has, what is legally termed "its ordinary, everyday meaning."
Are the charges against the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses a "valid charge"?
Webster's New World Dictionary (compact edition) defines the word valid as "having legal force"; and defines the word force as "strength; power."
This is on par with the legal definition of a "valid charge" - a charge which has power "under the law."
Each of the 7 criminal charges filed in court against the Governing Body are a "valid charge."
The Magistrates' Court of Victoria recognizes these charges as being "based-on-law," the Working with Children Act 2005, although we are yet to find out what section of the legislation was cited in the charge-sheets. This will be made public on September 13th when the charges and references are formally read out and cited in court, along with a Summary of Charges.
If the charges and alleged offences were "misconceived," which under Victorian law means "is based on an offence that does not exist under the law," then the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions would have taken over the case and withdrawn the charges immediately, if not on the very same day, then on the following day. This did not, and has not happened even though the charges were filed in court almost 7 weeks ago on July 26, 2011.
Further, when a member of the public files charges, which is very rare, the Director of Public Prosecutions has the power, under law, to take over the prosecution. The Director can then decide to prosecute the case or discontinue it.
The Director of Public Prosecutions can discontinue a prosecution for a range of reasons, including if he believes that the case
- is frivolous (does not have a serious purpose)
- is vexatious (was started to cause trouble)
- is misconceived (is based on an offence that does not exist under law)
- does not have enough evidence to support it
- has been restarted after an earlier decision by the Director to discontinue it
- is not in the public interest for the prosecution to proceed. "Vexatious" might be viewed by some as a potential problem in Mr. Unthank's case. However, due to the overwhelming evidence (his published 'wordy' press releases) and a newspaper article in the Sunday Herald Sun, Mr. Unthank is actually publicly asking for the Director of Public Prosecutions to take over the case.
While many of us have criticized the unorthodox way Mr. Unthank has gone about bringing the case to court, a few facts defy rejection of his methods. The most striking fact being that he has actually got the charges and the case to court and has actually had the Governing Body et al, charged.
On first analysis, this seems impossible, but these facts are there and are in public domain.
On second analysis, and I am basing this on an assumption as there is no Plaintiff / Applicant or Prosecuting Agency listed on the court listings, Mr. Unthank may have actually used the religious angle to get the charges filed and the case heard.
This seems most likely as the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 , under Part 2 - Human Rights, could be envoked to secure the likelihood of the charges being successfully filed in court, if the charges were presented to the courts by someone acting in harmony with their "thought, conscience, religion and belief," say, by presenting themself as a "minister of religion" and then acting on behalf of the "Freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief" of the children within Jehovah's Witnesses.
Section 38 of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 says the following in relation to the "Obligation on Public Authorities":
Conduct of public authorities
(1) Subject to this section, it is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way that is incompatible with a human right or, in making a decision, to fail to give proper consideration to a relevant human right." The Charter of Human Rights became law in Victoria for Public Authorities on January 1, 2008.
For further information about the Charter, go to http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/humanrights
If taken at face value, it appears that Mr. Unthank has been fighting to have his charges filed for over 3 years now. It is possible that during this time he tried every way conceivable or imaginable to bring the charges against the Governing Body and others but without success. Then, maybe, just maybe, he took the religious rhetoric and "mission from God" angle as a last resort marched down the "freedom of religion" highway right into the court house chanting,
"I'm a minister of religion. And on behalf of the Kingdom of God I demand that the religious leaders of Jehovah's Witnesses be criminally charged." This is the impression that his press releases and a number of articles he has published on his web sites indicate. And this conclusion, is practically, the most probable conclusion one could reach if they availed themself of the time to read his extensive 664-page religious manifesto which he originally entitled "The Submission." And, if Mr. Steven Unthank did indeed march down that "freedom of religion" highway right into the court house chanting the above, then maybe, just maybe, it was that tactic that made the difference and had the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses charged.
When the time comes, it literally will make one "hell of a story" and an interesting book to read.