Cunneen High Court ruling triggers ICAC power changes

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ICAC’s power will now be legislated to include reports into corruption involving non-public officials, following a High Court ruling that matters such as the Cunneen case fall outside ICAC’s jurisdiction.

The High Court ruled in the Cunneen case earlier this year that ICAC could not investigate cases in which a private citizen affected the functions of a public official, in cases such as fraud.

Under new legislation proposed by the Baird government yesterday, such cases will fall under ICAC’s jurisdiction in the future.

The announcement came yesterday, following the release of a report of the powers of ICAC by Premier Mike Baird yesterday, announcing the government will implement all changes suggested by a review panel.

ICAC’s powers will be limited to make findings of corrupt conduct to cases that are ‘serious’, but at the same time ICAC will be given additional powers, restoring the watchdog’s ability to investigate matters involving non-public officials under certain circumstances, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

“The important point about today is that we want ICAC to get cracking,” Baird said.  “We want it to continue to hunt down serious and systemic corruption in this state.”

He said legislation would be brought before parliament as soon as possible, opposition leader Luke Foley indicated that it would be Labor’s intention to cooperate.
  • Suzanna on 22/09/2015 4:30:09 PM

    Speaking of misbehaving regulators, I was in the Local Local Court on 28/8/2015 and I overheard a whisper about what was happening in one of the Courts so I went in and listened.
    I walked in just as a plaintiff was addressing the bench and clearly pointing out about 4 people sitting bolt upright at the back of the Court. Honestly, if they could have disappeared into the wall I think they would have rushed at it.
    The plaintiff was telling the bench that they were Law Society ("LS") employees and they had been all morning openly giving a member of the public ("MOTP") the defendant, legal advice about the matter. Even worse, a LS solicitor had drafted the defendant's defence and had filed an affidavit and become a witness in the matter, and the worst of all, the LS had got the entire matter wrong and had prepared documents about something that left the defendant totally undefended!!
    I was so shocked that I noted down when the matter was next in Court and attended on 10/9/2015.
    Well this day was even more shocking. Apparently the plaintiff was a struck off solicitor and the defendant was an ex-client who had given evidence about the plaintiff in NCAT. The plaintiff submitted that the LS had got it wrong in NCAT when they (amongst other things) charged her with putting money into the defendant's controlled money account in an elaborate scheme of falsehoods to cover up using the money for herself, and the defendant had apparently forgotten to mention in her evidence at the tribunal that she had been trading on her account and there was sufficient evidence in the file to support that submission and now, here was the defendant vigorously fighting to get the money that the plaintiff had been accused of putting into the account to cover up her act of using it for herself.
    Then the plaintiff informed the bench that apart from all of the above, there had never been any money missing!!!
    I was so shocked that I couldn't leave the Court.
    Why was the LS there giving advice to a MOTP?
    Yes, they can be a witness for who ever they like but one must ask the question why they would become a witness for a MOTP in a completely unrelated matter involving a struck off solicitor? I can only think that they are covering up something and they are using the defendant to help them do so.
    I have occasionally heard rumours about the LS using questionable tactics to get an outcome, but I have never seen it for myself.
    I ran after the very angry and upset plaintiff but she would not talk to me.
    I thought about what I heard and now I am so disappointed in the LS and what they did that I am not going to renew my membership with them and I am going to discourage my son from becoming a lawyer. My membership was something that I had been thinking about for some time in any event.

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