According to the Melbourne Magistrates court lists for tomorrow, the 10th of July, the much reported court case surrounding Belle Gibson and The Whole Pantry is set for another scene.
To recap media reports, last week Consumer Affairs Victoria took Belle Gibson to court to compel her to answer 27 questions relating to the marketing of her business and it’s products along with questions related to the fundraising activities Gibson engaged in.
Consumer Affairs Victoria were successful in their application and it was reported that Belle Gibson was given a deadline of today (9th July 2015) to provide written answers to all 27 questions.
However the application brought by Consumer Affairs Victoria, which is part of the Department of Justice, to compel Gibson to answer questions was not brought against Belle Gibson personally. The application by Consumer Affairs Victoria is listed in tomorrow’s court list as being Director Of Consumer Affairs Victoria vs Belle Gibson Pty Ltd.
So the application set to be further heard tomorrow is not quite what the media reported it to be. A company is a separate entity from a person so on the face of it this case is not dealing with Belle Gibson personally but her company.
Belle Gibson Pty Ltd is the company which sold Gibson’s best selling app on the Apple and Google Play app stores. Belle Gibson is the sole shareholder and director of that company. It is possible that any book deal done by Penguin was with the same company, we can only speculate.
Now it is true that in some circumstances sole directors of companies can be held personally liable for the conduct of that company, especially if that conduct was fraudulent. However it’s also possible that Consumer Affairs Victoria will not pursue Belle Gibson as a person.
If Belle Gibson Pty Ltd is as broke and poorly managed as it seems to be, from Belle Gibson’s own account, then any penalty against the company could be very difficult to enforce.