Belle Gibson arrives at the Federal Court this morning over her unpaid fine.
Belle Gibson arrives at the Federal Court this morning over her unpaid fine.

Cancer fraud Belle Gibson hands over bank records

Cancer conwoman Belle Gibson has shown her face at court for the first time since her web of lies were uncovered four years ago.

The Melbourne mother arrived at the Federal Court nine minutes before her examination hearing was due to start at 10am.

Wearing all black with her hair sleeked back into a loose bun, Gibson, 27, did not say anything as she entered the court.

Her appearance comes after years of dodging court hearings.

Cancer con artist Belle Gibson faces court over failure to pay $410,000 penalty. Picture: AAP /David Crosling
Cancer con artist Belle Gibson faces court over failure to pay $410,000 penalty. Picture: AAP /David Crosling

But last month she was summoned to appear to explain why she had failed to pay a cent of a $410,000 fine issued in September 2017.

She was at risk of being arrested if she ignored the summons and failed to appear.

But the hearing kicked off with a hitch as prosecutor Elle Nikou Madalin, for Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV), immediately asked for an adjournment to examine the folder of documents Gibson had brought in with her.

But Andrew Tragardh, for Gibson, accused CAV of conducting itself in a "rather outrageous way" and argued the documents were mostly bank statements from the last two years that would not take long for them to peruse.

"We'd oppose it being adjourned," Mr Tragardh said.

He also argued Gibson does not have "unlimited resources" to pay for a lawyer to come back to court again, urging it to be dealt with today.

"Ms Gibson has done everything she was asked to do (in the summons)," Mr Tragardh said, adding CAV had caused her "unnecessary stress" by making her appear today.

Belle Gibson as she appears on her social media. Picture: Facebook
Belle Gibson as she appears on her social media. Picture: Facebook

Ms Nikou Madalin said of course Mr Tragardh would say "there is nothing to see here" but the director of Consumer Affairs had forensic accountants on standby to pore over the documents once copies were provided.

She said it was difficult to proceed with questioning Gibson without having a proper look at the documents provided.

"I understand Ms Gibson may not want to face the media again, but that interest doesn't come second to my client's right to examine the records," Ms Nikou Madalin said.

Judicial Registrar Claire Gitsham stood the matter down until 2.15pm to give the prosecution time to look at the documents.

Gibson was found guilty of five breaches of Consumer Law for her misleading and deceptive conduct as the founder of her health and wellness empire, The Whole Pantry.

Consumer Affairs pursued civil action against her after she duped consumers into buying her wellness app and cookbook on false claims she had miraculously cured her brain cancer using natural remedies.

The bogus blogger also failed to pass on promised donations to charities, including a family whose young boy had an inoperable brain tumour and has since passed away.

It has been a drawn out court proceeding with the consumer watchdog repeatedly applying to the court to order Gibson pay up or face contempt charges.

But the disgraced wellness guru would not even respond to offers to go on a payment plan.

Justice Debbie Mortimer, who found her guilty and issued the fine, described Gibson as having a "cavalier attitude" and "little respect for any official processes".

 

Belle Gibson has previously failed to turn up to court.
Belle Gibson has previously failed to turn up to court.
Belle Gibson appeared on 60 Minutes to apologise for faking having brain cancer. Picture: 60 Minutes
Belle Gibson appeared on 60 Minutes to apologise for faking having brain cancer. Picture: 60 Minutes
Belle was described by a judge as having a “relentless obsession with herself”.
Belle was described by a judge as having a “relentless obsession with herself”.