Bug columnist faces charges

THE COURTS:

The Bug’s Brisbane-based finance and investment columnist has been remanded on bail to appear in court in January on nearly 200 charges under consumer protection and telecommunications laws.

Morrison Edison Ponzi Phar Lap Bezzle, age and address unknown, (main picture) pleaded not guilty to charges relating to online sales of allegedly bogus software.

During a brief committal hearing this morning Queensland Police prosecutor, Sergeant Lewis Terry, told the Brisbane Magistrates Court that Bezzle, who writes a never-regular column for The Bug as Morrie Bezzle, had attempted to leverage recent news about a Japanese invention offering lickable TV screens that imitate food flavours. (pictured)

“Police received a number of complaints from consumers who responded to an online advertisement of Mr Bezzle’s appearing on several pornography websites specialising in the sexual practice known as cunnilingus,” Sgt Terry told the court.

“The advertisement, which cited the Japanese technological breakthrough, asked consumers to pay $1,500 via an online credit card transaction and in return they would have access to downloadable software enabling them to, shall we say, fully realise the sensory effects of the sexual act in question.

“Unfortunately, the alleged software marketed by Mr Bezzle under the brand name Lickety Split had no effect whatsoever.

“In fact, initial analysis by Queensland Police Service technical experts shows the download link emailed to complainants provided them with only a superseded terms-and-conditions document originally published by the MySpace website in August 2005.”

Bezzle’s defence lawyer, Dickie Shearman QC, said his client would be pleading not guilty to all charges.

Mr Shearman told the court that if the complainants had sustained any losses, it was not Bezzle’s fault but more than likely due to “a technical misunderstanding”.

He appealed without success to Magistrate Madge Esstrait to “find in your heart  compassion and mercy, especially at this festive time of year and dismiss these charges”.

Outside court Mr Bezzle (main picture) made his own, somewhat blunter, appeal to both Ms Esstrait and Sgt Terry.

“They shouldn’t forget I know where they live, and where their kids go to school,” he told waiting reporters  before Mr Shearman led him away.