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Former Geelong Grammar Headmaster Stands By Macartney-Snape

18 March 2007 Media Release

Leading educators took the stand this week in the NSW Supreme Court defamation action brought by Tim Macartney-Snape and Jeremy Griffith in relation to a 1995 ABC-TV Four Corners program.

The defamatory broadcast imputed, among other things, that Mr Macartney-Snape had deceived schools that had invited him to talk about climbing Mt Everest.

The Court heard on Friday from the eminent educator John Lewis, former headmaster of Eton College in England and previously Geelong Grammar School in Victoria where Mr Macartney-Snape gave the speech day address in 1993.

Mr Lewis said he considered the selection of Mr Macartney-Snape, a former student of the school, as “highly appropriate”.

“Tim’s reputation was very high, he was admired for his courage and endurance but also because he was evidently and patently a humble and humane person,” he said.

A column Mr Lewis subsequently wrote in the school’s newsletter described Mr Macartney-Snape’s speech as being “about what should be the mainsprings of human endeavour and aspiration”.

Mr Lewis’ testimony followed evidence the previous day from Gordon Stewart, former headmaster of Concord High School, who related his experience of Mr Macartney-Snape’s speech night address to the school in March 1995, footage of which was included in the Four Corners program.

Mr Stewart said the ABC told him the program was intended to be a “tribute to Tim for climbing Mt Everest” and that he was assured by the ABC that neither he nor the school would feature in the program.

The educator said he subsequently watched the program, adding, “I was filmed speaking which was something I did not expect and the school was identified in a context I did not think was relevant to the night.”

When asked if he expected that Mr Macartney-Snape would be presenting his values and beliefs, Mr Stewart said “yes”.

Also giving evidence on Friday was University of Dallas psychologist and editor-in-chief of The Humanistic Psychologist, Professor Scott Churchill who tendered a report as to the scientific and scholarly standard of Mr Griffith’s published work before being cross-examined at some length by counsel for the defendants, Bret Walker SC.

The case continues in the Supreme Court at Queens Square on Monday.

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Further information please visit www.humancondition.com or contact Sally Edgar on 0425 247 133.