A federal court judge has found Consumer Affairs Victoria has proven “most but not all” of the claims against the wellness blogger.
Ms Gibson was due to appear in court in front of Justice Debra Mortimer today but did not appear.
“Ms Gibson had no reasonable basis to believe she had cancer from the time she began making these claims in public to promote The Whole Pantry Book and the apps in mid-2013,” she said.
She said Ms Gibson’s reasons behind her explanation of her cancer diagnoses, by an unqualified medical practitioner, were “neither reasonable nor rational”, but said Ms Gibson may have suffered “a series of delusions about her health condition”.
Mother-of-three Kylie Willey refused conventional treatment for leukaemia for two weeks following Ms Gibson’s ‘self-help guide’, saying it nearly cost her her life.
“I’m so angry at her for making me feel like a fool. For taking my money when I donated to her cause and bought her books and apps,”
The federal court judgement for Belle Gibson was handed down today. (AAP)
“You’re at the depths of despair, you’re looking for any alternative for the horror you are going through when you go through cancer treatment.
“It’s like nothing I can ever explain, it was the worst time of my life, it was horrible – she totally preyed on me.”
It was also found many of the charities Ms Gibson said she donated to, including the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, did not receive any of the proposed funds.
Over a two-year period the 25-year-old earned $420,000 from her book and app.
Ms Gibson only donated $10,000 to charity, while other families and organisations promised fundraising or profit never received any donations.
Justice Mortimer said Ms Gibson “played on the empathy” of “vulnerable” groups.
“She played on the empathy and generosity of the Australian community… her ‘pitch’ overwhelmingly used groups likely to evoke sympathy because of their vulnerabilities – young girls, asylum seekers and young children,” she said.
Her penalty after the finding will be handed down at a date to be fixed, however she faces up to $1.1 million in fines.
With her company in liquidation, Ms Gibson’s victims fear she will never actually pay for the damage caused.
Source : 9news