ASIC’s
guiding philosophy is that the market must be properly informed so the
market can make proper decisions. This philosophy applies to the courts
as well. That is why ASIC should inform the Federal Court judge on 21
July that the “facts” that Vizard purports to admit (through his
lawyers) may not be the facts at all.

Vizard gave sworn
evidence at committal proceedings for his accountant in 2003 that
appears to contradict some of the new facts to be submitted to the
court. In my view, there is a legal and ethical obligation on ASIC, its
barrister and its minister, Peter Costello, to inform the Court of
Vizard’s contradictory sworn evidence. The Court may not accept facts
in the civil proceedings that have been denied on oath by Vizard at the
committal.

This would mean that the deal to proceed by civil
prosecution could not proceed because the judge would reject it. The
only way it could go ahead would be if Vizard gave further evidence on
oath stating that the new facts are true and that his previous evidence
was false (that is, perjured). This creates obvious problems for Vizard.

These
comments also raise questions about the moral and ethical position of
ASIC: how can ASIC do a deal which involves ASIC accepting facts when
Vizard has already sworn otherwise?

And finally, did ASIC use
its coercive Section 19 powers against Vizard? Did he tell the truth on
oath at those hearings? Or was there yet another version of the facts?

This whole matter should be investigated, otherwise ASIC’s reputation is ruined.

Peter Fray

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