Melbourne fake cancer patient Belle Gibson has made a rare appearance in court after refusing to appear on multiple occasions, including when she was handed a $ 410,000 fine in September 2017.
Gibson, 27, was swamped by reporters and photographers as she walked into the Federal Court building in Melbourne to explain why she has failed to pay a single cent of the fine.
Gibson wore a black trench coat and a long black skirt with glasses. Her hair was tied back in a bun as she sat behind her lawyer.
Andrew Tragardh, representing Gibson, handed over two years worth of his client’s bank statements for the court to examine and said Gibson does not have enough money to afford ongoing legal fees.
BREAKING: Fraudster Belle Gibson has entered the Federal Court. It’s the first time she’s been to court in a long time. She will have to explain why she hasn’t paid back the $ 410,000 she was fined for misleading and deceptive conduct. @SkyNewsAust pic.twitter.com/0ARHfCRT2o
— Patrick Murrell (@pamurrell) May 14, 2019
“Significantly, my client does not have unlimited resources,” he told the court.
He also said lawyers for Consumer Affairs Victoria were subjecting the cancer conwoman to “unnecesary stress” by refusing to examine the documents in court today and asking for an adjournment so they can be “forensically” examined overnight.
Mr Tragardh called the request “highly unacceptable”.
“Ms Gibson has done everything she’s been asked to do,” he said.
Elle Nikou Madalin, appearing on behalf of Consumer Affairs, said Gibson “may not want to face the media again” but that the stress it causes her is “secondary”.
The court adjourned until 2.15pm for lawyers from both sides to go over the documents.
Gibson will be required to answer questions when the hearing resumes.
Belle Gibson was overheard in the line at the Fed Court saying it’s “sad” the media is covering stories like hers because we “should be covering more important things”. I don’t know.. but faking brain cancer & scamming money is pretty important, Belle. ? @Studio10au @10NewsFirst pic.twitter.com/JCWdfcSOvn
— Candice Wyatt (@CandiceWyatt10) May 14, 2019
Outside court, Gibson was overheard by reporters saying it’s “sad” that media are covering her case and that other “more important” cases should be covered instead.
The self-described wellness guru, who lied about her terminal brain cancer diagnosis to dupe Australians out of more than $ 578,000, was found guilty of five breaches of consumer laws.
She made the money via the Whole Pantry cookbook and app after telling consumers she had been cured of cancer by healthy eating.
More than 300,000 sufferers made purchases from her before the fake cancer story emerged in 2015.
Although Gibson received hundreds of thousands of dollars from sales of her app and book, she only donated about $ 10,000 to charity.
Justice Debra Mortimer told Gibson in September she had a “relentless obsession with herself”.
In November, Justice Mortimer issued a warning to Gibson that failure to pay the penalty would make her liable for jail, property seizures or other punishment.
Earlier this year, A Current Affair revealed that Gibson, her partner Clive Rothwell and son treated themselves to a $ 15,000 luxury trip to East Africa.
“Don’t you think it’s more important to be paying back that fine rather than going on an overseas trip?” a reporter asked Gibson upon her return to Australia. The 27-year-old smirked and walked towards her car.
More to come