A woman being sued for defamation by a NSW spiritual healer has defended a tweet which said the "cult leader's" website exploited children to vouch for his healing scam.
Esther Mary Rockett told a Sydney jury his Universal Medicine "propaganda" site cited a 15-year-old girl who gave a testimony and "a defence, if you like, of Serge Benhayon".
She was continuing her evidence in the Supreme Court on Monday, at the lawsuit brought by the former tennis coach who says her 2014 blog and later tweets portrayed him as delusional, dishonest, a sexual predator and the leader of a "socially harmful cult".
The bankrupt former acupuncturist is fighting the case putting forward the defences of truth and honest opinion.
Her barrister, Tom Molomby SC, took her through her many tweets including one about "Serge Benhayon's juvenile human shields" and "Universal Medicine cult propaganda exploiting kids to vouch for healing scam".
Ms Rockett said this was linked to an "open letter to Esther Rockett" posted on the UM "Facts" site.
"This was attributed to a 15-year-old girl who is giving a testimony and a defence if you like of Serge Benhayon," she said.
"She is a 15-year-old, they have used her name and her portrait and embroiled her in this controversy about Universal Medicine's conduct and particularly related to sexual misconduct.
"They have brought her in to defend Serge Benhayon's behaviour."
By "healing scam" Ms Rockett said she meant the whole business of Universal Medicine and its marketing and products and services which "have no sound therapeutic basis".
She tweeted this in the context of the open letter and in the lead up to UM's Girl to Woman festival.
Ms Rockett referred to another UM post which she summarised as saying "without Universal Medicine I'd be out of control".
A teenage girl had posted on the UM site that without Universal Medicine she would be out partying, drinking and sleeping around, Ms Rockett said.
In response, Ms Rockett tweeted: "Serge Benhayon instils fear and guilt to get children to do his bidding".
This referred to Mr Benhayon's teaching diverging from his lifestyle recommendations so if "you drink alcohol then you are susceptible to being raped by supernatural entities", she told the jury.
Ms Rockett is yet to be cross-examined.
Australian Associated Press