Calls for inquiry into ‘ cult’
A HEALTH and lifestyle business that was found in a defamation trial to be a “socially harmful cult” should be the subject of a judicial inquiry, Labor MP for Lismore Janelle Saffin told state parliament.
Universal Medicine, based in northern NSW, is run by former tennis coach Serge Benhayon, who claims to be the reincarnation of Leonardo da Vinci, and offers treatments such as “esoteric breast massage” and “ovarian readings”.
Last year, Mr Benhayon brought Supreme Court defamation proceedings against vocal critic and former client Esther Rockett but it backfired spectacularly when the jury found it was true to say he led a “socially harmful cult” and made “bogus healing claims”.
Ms Saffin called for the inquiry last week to investigate the “cult” that has been blamed for marriage breakups, pilfered inheritances and even landed a baby in hospital after it was placed on a strict diet.
“I call for an inquiry not because it is a cult, but because it has infiltrated my community ... peddling its pernicious influence over the lives of people at their most vulnerable: children, the sick and the wounded,” Ms Saffin told parliament.