Suspended Melbourne medical practitioner Dr. Jereth Kok is now raising funds on a Christian crowdfunding platform to pay his lawyer’s fees.
Dr. Kok was suspended in August 2019 by the Medical Board of Australia for his social media posts targeting LGBTQI persons and for allegedly “endorsing genocide toward racial and religious groups”.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal recently upheld the suspension in the public interest.
The crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo.com advertises itself as the leading “free Christian crowdfunding” site.
“Dr. Jereth will go to court to fight for reinstatement in his profession. He will also attempt to defend the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. He is raising money towards the expected legal costs,” the page says setting a target of $15,000.
The appeal adds that money remaining after paying legal fees would be shared by Human Rights Law Alliance, which says it is a “not-for-profit law firm with a Christian ethos” and Kok’s family.
In a press release, The. Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Managing Director, Martyn Iles, has extended support to Kok.
“The ACL does not agree with every opinion or statement by Dr. Kok. Religious freedom is important and like every human being, no example is perfect. The ACL knows many more cases like Dr. Kok’s. If we can not restore religious freedom when regular parliament resumes, any Christian expressing opinion in their private time could be sacked or ruined.
It is an overreaction in the extreme to ruin someone’s career simply because they have said something that some people do not like, without evidence of any harm, especially when it’s a statement connected to their religious identity.”
In its decision upholding Kok’s suspension, VCAT had said that his conduct on social media could undermine the public’s confidence in the medical profession.
“We have grave concerns about whether the community would accept that any medical practitioner could switch, as though he were a light, from airing disrespectful views online to providing respectful and appropriate treatment for those who fall within a class he denigrates online.
We also have concerns about the level of respect he can bring to other members of his own profession with whom he may have to engage and/or refer patients.”