Greg Lay, accountant to Steve Vizard, has given sworn evidence in the Victorian Supreme Court in the Westpac v Hilliard case (otherwise known as the Hayes QC v Vizard case).
Crikey readers will remember that, despite Vizard’s lawyers admitting insider trading in Federal Court proceedings, neither the Commonwealth DPP nor ASIC have been able to charge Vizard with a criminal offence because (they say) there was a stumbling block.
What was the problem? Well, it was that the accountant who did the transactions made a statement but refused to sign it. Greg Lay was that accountant.
At the time, the CDPP-ASIC “axis of incompetence” was widely criticised – particularly as it looked like Vizard was getting special treatment because he was rich and powerful.
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In a huge embarrassment for CDPP-ASIC, Lay has given evidence. Now, stripped of all excuses, the authorities must proceed.
They either: (a) approach Lay again for a signed statement or; (b) charge Vizard and then call Lay under the Compulsory Examination Procedure of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1989 section 56A. This procedure enables the DPP to compulsorily obtain evidence which then becomes admissible at any committal.
If the CDPP-ASIC refuse to take these steps, we need a full explanation from Costello (ASIC) and Ruddock (CDPP). Otherwise the public will draw their own conclusions as to why there is no prosecution.