For two long years, Christian doctor Jereth Kok has been provisionally suspended from practising medicine. Since August 2019, Jereth has been unable to work as a doctor while awaiting the outcome of a Medical Board investigation about whether his historic social media posts amount to professional misconduct. Now, in August 2021, the Medical Board has finally advised that the investigation is complete and that Jereth’s case will go to the Victorian State Administrative Tribunal for trial.
HRLA will be representing Jereth, together with a team of barristers and experts, in a case which has wide-ranging implications for religious freedom, the powers of regulators to police personal speech through vague codes of conduct, the intrusion of cancel culture into law and the right to a fair trial.
Up until 2019, Jereth was widely recognised as a good doctor. For almost 15 years he had practiced medicine as a GP in Melbourne and he did his job well. He was liked and respected by colleagues and patients, and never received any complaints about his clinical practice. That all changed in 2019 after complaints were made to the Medical Board by anonymous activists about Jereth’s political and Christian posts on social media.
After preliminary investigation, the Medical Board provisionally suspended Jereth for the duration of its investigation of Jereth’s social media posts. This has taken two years. So, for the last two years Jereth has had no employment and no income from the medical profession. He has lost his practice and his clients and has had to find other ways of supporting his family. Not because of his medical practice. Not because of his patient care. But because a faceless activist complained about his personal social media posts.
Since 2020, Jereth has been awaiting news of the outcome of the Medical Board’s investigation. The Medical Board has now informed Jereth that its investigation is complete and that he will face trial in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. In a hearing likely to occur in mid to late 2022, the Medical Board will argue that Jereth’s social media posts constitute professional misconduct and that his registration as a doctor should be cancelled.
Effectively, Jereth has already been cancelled. He has not practiced medicine for two years. His medical career is largely ruined, and he has not even had his day in Court yet or a real opportunity to defend himself.
But that day is now fast approaching.
Human Rights Law Alliance is working for Jereth together with a team of barristers and experts on this important religious freedom case. This case provides the opportunity to push back against cancel culture, to ensure that regulators and employers can’t unfairly punish personal speech and expression, to challenge draconian over-regulation, and to ensure that Christians have freedom to continue to speak their faith and convictions in public without losing their jobs.
You can help support Jereth in his defence against the Medical Board’s prosecution. You can find his crowdfunding campaign here.
Jereth’s case is important not just for Jereth, or for Christians or even for religious Australians. All Australians benefit when the medical profession allows a vibrant range of opinions and where open discourse and viewpoint diversity flourish.
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