As Steve Vizard busily hoses down this morning’s reports that he is being investigated over perjury allegations, another legal matter
looms large on the banned company director’s horizon.

Westpac v Hilliard – the civil action brought by the bank
in an attempt to recover the $2 million or so reimbursed to Steve Vizard in
2000 after the businessman accused his then bookkeeper, Roy Hilliard, of
siphoning the money from his account – is slated to appear before the Supreme
Court on 4 September.

The case had been postponed pending
the outcome of last year’s criminal trial, which resulted in Hilliard pleading
guilty to false accounting and led to Vizard being charged with, and found
guilty of, insider trading.

Westpac, whose entire case more or less hinges on Vizard’s
word, should be following today’s news with interest. A spokesman from the bank
told Crikey this morning that Westpac’s lawyers “plan to call Vizard as a
witness.” But can they rely on him testifying – something he refused to do
during the criminal trial against Hilliard, on the grounds he might have
incriminated himself?

As for Hilliard, the broke former bookkeeper has been
waiting six years for a conclusion to the Westpac action against him, that is based solely on
Vizard’s word, says Hilliard’s lawyer Magda Kron. “But can anyone really rely
on anything Vizard says?”

Peter Fray

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