Brian Martin tells the story: The position of Professor Dudley Pinnock, an entomologist at the University of Adelaide, was declared redundant in 1997. I posted a file about his case on this website.
I was told that the University of Adelaide had threatened to sue the University of Wollongong over the presence of this document on my site. An official at the University of Wollongong formally requested me to remove it.
Campus Review ran major stories on Dudley Pinnock's case and the defamation threat in its 27 August-2 September 1997 edition. See:
Since I received no information about specific statements or imputations that were alleged to be defamatory, I sought clarification of the claims. See my email of 26 August 1977 to Mary O'Kane, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide. In O'Kane's reply dated 21 October 1997, she said it was the University of Adelaide's position that "many of the matters" in my Pinnock file were "factually inaccurate and untrue". However, she provided no examples or details of any inaccuracies or untruths. She also said that proper procedures had been followed in dealing with Professor Pinnock. She did not take up my offer to provide material for this web site.
Note that it is a classic feature of suppression cases for a complaint to be taken to a person's superior rather than the person directly concerned. Defamation threats and actions are commonly used to suppress open discussion of issues, as argued in "Defamation law and free speech". For a related story involving defamation threats from the University of Western Australia, see "Defamation havens."
To make the Pinnock file available, I contacted a range of individuals, some of whom posted the file on their sites. I then put links to their sites. See:
In early 2000, I was informed that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide had approached the internet service providers for at least two of the sites above, claiming that the Pinnock file was defamatory and requesting that it be removed. The pattern was the same as before: (1) no details were provided of any inaccurate statements in the file; (2) complaints were taken to site managers rather than the individuals posting the file; (3) no contrary information was offered for posting on the sites.
If ISPs acquiesce to these threats, the simple solution is to find additional locations for the file, such as:
In April 2002, after Mary O'Kane's resignation from the University of Adelaide and the passage of nearly five years since Pinnock lost his job, I reposted the Pinnock file here.
Brian Martin's website on suppression of dissent
in the section on Documents