Outside court, Greg Bird told reporters the charges had been "ridiculous" and it was disappointing and frustrating that anybody could make false accusations and harass someone. He was relieved by the judgement and said, "It leaves a sour taste - it's disappointing that this is how it works."
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson, a Baptist minister is one amongst thousands upon thousands who have experienced situations of having false charges levelled against them; when the 'chips were counted' they were found to be in credit.
Anyone can make an accusation, then simply walk away while the process of 'justice' take place, leaving the innocent accused go through the most devastating personal heartache of having to prove they never were guilty. If the matter goes to court, the process can be very lengthy indeed.
M V Tronson suspects that sometimes people seek to gain an advantage by vilifying their opponent. It is surprising how easy it is for someone to make an accusation without having to 'show evidence'.
People do this because of a political or business situation where they want to get the upper hand; because they feel their own reputation is at stake because of something their opponent has done or said (even if that may have been honest and true); because they want financial gain, or because of some other personal reason where they want to be seen in public to 'get their own back'.
Whether intentional or not, they wish to uphold or enhance their own reputation. They do not openly want to be seen as the 'bad cop', so sometimes they create several layers of smoke around the accusation and the accused to create confusion. This wreaks more harm than if it were a transparent, open and straightforward question that the accused could answer in public, and clear his name immediately.
In most cases, the aggrieved and innocent accused is anxious to go to any lengths –including expensive court cases – to be cleared 'in the end'.
However, Mark Tronson has experienced that even being declared innocent somewhere 'down the track' leaves your name forever tainted, even though it might only be in your own mind. The effect is devastating. As Greg Bird said, it leaves a sour taste. There are some people who never recover. It feels, to the innocent party, as though the accuser has been playing a vicious game with honour and reputation of both parties at stake.
M V Tronson puts forward some suggestions as to a way forward for those falsely accused.
If the accuser loses, then there should be automatic punitive action (such as fines or whatever the court thinks appropriate) to be paid for bringing spurious claims, for denigrating a character unnecessarily, and for wasting the court's time. Accusers would think very carefully prior to making accusations.
To support the cleared accused person, who often has a hard row to hoe to get back to a normal life psychologically, physically, emotionally and financially, there could be national courts insurance system to provide continuing income and health care until they can fully recover.
Public liability cover or work cover arrangements for companies, small businesses, and groups like churches and charities should have a provision for insurance cover for this type of psychological injury where it occurs as a result of the person's employment or voluntary work with various organisation.
In order for us to move on to a more humane society, our courts and insurance systems need to recognise the injustice of being 'falsely accused'. Such small steps as Mark Tronson has outlined would go some way to right the current 'sins of omission' where people are left to flounder, when they have done nothing wrong in the first place.