Esther Rockett (centre) leaves Sydney Supreme Court with solicitor Stewart O'Connell and barrister Tom Molomby after a December, 2018 hearing in the defamation case brought against her by Universal Medicine leader Serge Benhayon.
Esther Rockett (centre) leaves Sydney Supreme Court with solicitor Stewart O'Connell and barrister Tom Molomby after a December, 2018 hearing in the defamation case brought against her by Universal Medicine leader Serge Benhayon. Liana Turner

Why this influential woman didn't make our top 50 list

SHE'S arguably had a significant influence on the Northern Rivers in the past year.

But there's a simple reason Esther Rockett can't be featured on in our upcoming series of the region's 50 most influential women.

Serge Benhayon, the founder of a multi-million dollar "complementary health" business Universal Medicine, sued Ms Rockett for defamation in 2015.

But the vast majority of imputations Ms Rockett made against him were found to be true by a jury in the Supreme Court trial.

This included statements that he was "the leader of a socially harmful cult", a "charlatan", that UM "preys on cancer patients" and dozens more.

The court awarded costs in Ms Rockett's favour, which she says have been paid to a tune of $1.2 million.

In March, she gave a standing-room-only talk at Lismore Workers Club detailing some of the workings of Universal Medicine and calling on the community to take any action on the matter into their own hands.

Since the verdict was handed down, NSW Health distanced itself from UM and the HCCC is undertaking an investigation into alleged ethics breaches of non-registered health professionals associated with the group.

Despite this, Ms Rockett can't feature in our upcoming series on the Northern Rivers' 50 most influential women as she's no longer living in the region and this is one of the key criteria.

Ms Rockett, previously of the Byron Bay region, has moved away from the district since the court case.

You can see who has made the cut from Monday, August 12, when we'll reveal the women who've nabbed the places from 41 to 50.

We'll reveal a further 10 women each day and the region's top 10 influential women will be revealed on Friday, August 16.

We'll have a special profile on the women we believe is the most influential in our region the following day.

This list will be subjective and we welcome your feedback: news@northernstar.com.au.

Other influential women who deserve recognition but haven't made our Top 50 series:

  • Jessica Ducrou: The Splendour in the Grass co-founder brings hundreds of jobs and plenty of notoriety to the Byron Shire, but moved to Sydney last year.
  • Olivia Newton John: The music and film megastar still co-owns Gaia retreat but she just sold her Ballina home.