ABORTION rights advocate Pieter Mourik won’t say why his apology to pro-life couple Roland and Anna von Marburg contradicts his previous comments on Facebook use.
As part of the apology, Dr Mourik stated he had authored posts critical of the von Marburgs and his actions led to a ‘name and shame’ campaign directed at the Albury couple.
“As a spokesperson for Rights to Privacy Albury, I had an administrative role in the conduct of the Facebook page at the relevant time,” Dr Mourik wrote.
“I should have removed the untrue and offensive comments about the von Marburgs when initially requested to do so.”
The admission of Facebook use is in stark contrast to what Dr Mourik has previously told The Border Mail.
“I’ve never been on Facebook,” Dr Mourik said in July 2015.
“It doesn’t make sense that I’m facing a defamation writ for something I haven’t done.”
Asked on Wednesday why his apology contradicted his past statements, Dr Mourik declined to comment.
Ethan Aldred, an administrator who was also subject to defamation action by the von Marburgs, told the couple he “was subject to the direction of the Spokesperson of Rights to Privacy Albury, Dr Pieter Mourik”.
In the same apology to the von Marburgs, Mr Aldred wrote he did not believe he had the authority to remove offensive material “without Dr Mourik’s direction”.
Dr Mourik would not comment on who now administers the Facebook page, which is required to publish his apology for the next two months.
However his friend and “staunch” Rights to Privacy supporter Chris Klier criticised the amount of money spent on the defamation case by the von Marburgs.
He said it would have been better spent on tackling homelessness or assisting the Albury woman’s shelter Betty’s Place.
“I’m frankly amazed that money goes to lining the pockets of rich Melbourne lawyers,” Mr Klier said.
“I find that very un-Christian…it’s disgusting.”
Dr von Marburg, who received $180,000 from Dr Mourik in the settlement, rejected Mr Klier’s assessment.
“It would be wrong to assume because we’ve defended our rights on the important issue of freedom of speech that we can’t still help the mothers and babies of this community,” Dr von Marburg said. “We’ve been helping mothers and babies…for decades, for Chris Klier to speak like that displays a great ignorance of what we’ve done.”