Is honest opinion not acceptable?

#Is honest opinion no longer accepted in this world?#

That's my question when I receive my 1st legal letter from other party which is finally taking me to the court for a defamation case.

My name is Sean Muir. I am a Powerlifter. I am being sued because of my honest opinion in an email which was addressed to the head of powerlifting organisation in Australia (cc some of its directors, board, committee and my training partner who is a member). 

Powerlifting for me is my passion. Competing in international championships to represent Australia is one of my pride.

It was upsetting moment when I knew that our national powerlifting organisation is being expelled by its international body. In international body's AGM agenda and minutes of meeting, they reported clearly the reasons of expulsion.

In short, I decided to resign from that national powerlifting organisation. Soon after my resignation, I can still clearly captured in my memory when I receive phone call from head of the organisation to re-consider my resignation. That phone conversation made me believe that I could make a difference and help by speaking up and offering assistance.

I chose to express my thoughts and ideas that may get our national powerlifting organisation back to its international body through an email. Email was sent only to head of the organisation cc board, committee and my training partner who is a member. No other 3rd parties (i.e. no recipients outside our national organisation).

None of points in my email attack or attempt to reduce his reputation. I simply gave my honest opinion based on facts stated in international body's AGM minutes.

Further, one of his replies was ask me to withdraw my email. I did withdrawal as requested and sent apology as well to all recipients. I remember he thanked me in an email after that. My email did not have the impact I hoped to which was keep our national powerlifting organisation in its international body so I commit to my resignation.

Time goes by, no more news after that. 

In the meantime, my powerlifter colleagues and I created a new national powerlifting organisation and was accepted by the international body.

Soon after announcement of my organisation, I received legal challenge from the lawyer of head of the organisation.

My lawyer sent offer to make amends, but he didn't accept it and then he claimed some amount in which for me and my lawyer believe is unreasonable. He is now taking me to court.

The estimated costs just for defending this are AU$30,000.00 however depending on how it goes it may well be more. Defamation cases like this can be very expensive to defend and I’d be very grateful for any assistance with costs.

I hope you can understand that it is important as a community we support sporting organisation but we also ensure that people have a right to have their opinion and have a right to speak out and offer assistance. There was no intended purpose to embarrass or humiliate any person what so ever. This type of silencing is unacceptable and I hope you can help to make sure it is not tolerated.

We expect to get approx. 60% back if we win. Any money earned above what is spent defending this case will be refunded to all who have helped in this crowd fund effort.

I am therefore seeking to raise an initial fund of at least $30,000.00. I might need to raise more if needed as the case goes on. Funds raised in this crowdfunder shall be used solely for my legal expenses. If I lose the case and damages are awarded to the claimant, I shall be personally liable for those costs.

In any responses to this message please don’t post any negative comments. I’m not trying to embarrass anyone with this plea. It’s about ensuring that we can have our opinion and our say.

Thank you very much.

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Sean Muir 
Chelmer, QLD
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