Belle Gibson has been found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct in the Federal Court for claiming that special diets and alternative medicine had cured brain cancer that she had never had.
But in her findings, Justice Debra Mortimer added that the fake ‘wellness’ blogger may have been suffering “some kind of delusion” that she had cancer rather than acting unconscionably, as Consumers Affairs Victoria had insisted.
“She may have had other psychological or psychiatric issues,” the published ruling said.
Gibson may face personal fines of up to $220,000, and her company, Inkerman Road Nominees, could be fined $1.1 million. Inkerman is now in liquidation.
Gibson was not in court to hear the judgement, but she is already spruiking another treatment which, she says, helped her pass a 60cm rope worm, prevented two of her teeth from needing fillings, reduced the size of her tonsils by “about 30%”, and is changing the hue of her hazel eyes to “green with blue underneath”.
The Age news website says she made the claims in a now-deleted post on the Master Fast System Facebook page.
According to The Age, MFS espouses new age fasting and cleansing, and encourages members to share “how to clean our pipes like plumbers” and that it’s “not bound by any man made paper and/or laws” and is “based on Master Lui-Gino’s understanding of Space Plasma Technology, Nature and many amazing brilliant teachers”.
Gibson was apparently disappointed that she didn’t have a camera with her to film the huge rope worm for posterity.
She had made hundreds of thousands of dollars after building a social media empire based on her false cancer claims, launching an app and releasing a cookbook, The Whole Pantry, through Penguin Publishing. She also falsely claimed that a portion of the money she had made would go to charity.
Inkerman received $420,000 from sales of the book and the app.
Gibson admitted in an interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly in 2015 that her diagnosis was not real.
She had said that she had turned away from conventional treatment for cancer in favour of dieting and alternative medicine. However, Justice Mortimer said “There is no evidence to suggest Ms Gibson had any conventional cancer treatment”.