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24 August 2014

Olivia Watts (1961–) police officer, naturopath, Wicca.

For 18 years Watts worked as a male police officer in Casey, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria.
In 1995 Watts retired from the police, started to transition as Olivia, and set up in business as a naturopath. She was also a practitioner of Wicca.

In 2003 Olivia ran, unsuccessfully, to be a councillor in Casey. After an exchange of opinions, a Christian Labor councillor Rob Wilson denounced Olivia as a witch, and as a Satanist. He called on Casey's church leaders to consider calling a day of prayer to hold back the occult forces. Olivia was physically assaulted, and her house and car vandalized. Her business collapsed.
"On August 16 a gentleman came to my door and asked me if I was the naturopath Cr Wilson was talking about. When I admitted I was, he grabbed me and started hitting me on the forehead saying he was driving the demons out of Casey. He just kept screaming 'Out you demon, out you demon'."
Olivia sued Cr Wilson before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). for vilification under the Victoria Racial and Religious Tolerance Act, 2001. At the trial Olivia became the first person anywhere in the world to give a legal Court Oath to the Goddess. In his submission Cr Wilson cited an evangelical Christian website called The Watchman and the Collins paperback dictionary: "Witchcraft: noun, the use of magic especially for evil purposes".

In a separate action, the Pagan Awareness Network, based in Sydney, brought a complaint against Wilson and the mayor. This was settled out of court with an apology and retraction by Wilson.

Olivia's case before the VCAT was heard in August 2004. Cr Wilson initially claimed that the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act was not breached in that, alone in Australia, witchcraft was still illegal in Victoria (this was section 13 of the Vagrancy Act 1966 which was repealed until 2005). However after the first day of hearings he agreed out-of-court to a retraction, and to financial terms which remain confidential.

More recently Olivia has suffered from MS, and became unable to work.
PeaceNext

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