Universal Medicine founder Serge Benhayon.
Universal Medicine founder Serge Benhayon.

Jury empanelled in Serge Benhayon defamation case

By Sam McKeith

A JURY has been empanelled in the defamation case being brought by Lismore-based Universal Medicine founder Serge Benhayon against former client Esther Rockett.

In her opening remarks on Monday morning, Justice Julia Lonergan told the four-person jury they would have to decide whether articles written by Ms Rockett carried a "defamatory meaning" damaging to Mr Benhayon's reputation.

The NSW Supreme Court Justice also told the jury she expected Ms Rockett's legal team to defend the articles by claiming that they were "substantially true" or represented an "honest opinion".

Earlier, the packed Sydney courtroom had to be cleared of media and Mr Benhayon's supporters to enable the jury to be empanelled.

Mr Benhayon, a former tennis coach turned "sacred and esoteric" healer based at Goonellabah, sat quietly throughout Justice Lonergan's brief remarks.

The trial, set down for three weeks, will hear opening arguments on Tuesday.