The proprietor of a bizarre Web site selling purple plates on the Internet, which were claimed to have exceptional powers, has been jailed for one month for contempt of court. The sentence follows action for misleading and deceptive conduct by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) under the Trade Practices Act.
Neal Arthur Lyster, age unknown, unsuccessfully argued before Federal Court Justice Goldberg in Melbourne that he had seceded from the Commonwealth of Australia and that previous rulings were "null and void". Evidence tendered to the court showed that Lyster, as domain name holder of "www.purple-harmony-plates.com" had listed himself at a suburban Melbourne street address as "His Excellency Governor, Government of the Commonwealth, Australis, Purple Harmony Plates, Kew 3101". Lyster, who represented himself before the court, had failed to attend an earlier psychiatric assessment ordered by the court.
The court had earlier ordered that Lyster publish a corrective notice to consumers on his Web site www.purple-plates.com, which he failed to do, resulting in the seizure of the site by the ACCC. Another site, www.purpleplates.com (which spruiks "The magic of Purple Positive Energy Plates – Expect A Miracle!" is still active, a situation which ACCC public relations director Lin Enright said the commission was "aware of". The purple plate site credits "Mental Shop Site Design" for the build of its site.