Attorney General's Department - conduct affecting the administration of justice in the Wagga Wagga and other local court areas (Operation Segomo)

Year: 2010 Status: Completed

The ICAC investigated allegations that John Hart, a barrister, together with a number of other persons, engaged in corrupt conduct by providing false information to judicial officers, conspiring to deliberately inflate legal costs in a costs claim lodged with the Attorney-General’s Department and representing to his clients and others that in return for payment being made to public officials in the justice system, those public officials would act favourably in their interests.

In its report on this investigation, made public on 15 March 2010, the ICAC made findings of corrupt conduct against Mr Hart, solicitor Anthony Paul and three other persons, Jason Kelly, Christopher Trinder and Jeffrey Nankivell. Recommendations are made that consideration be given to the prosecution of Messrs Hart, Paul, Kelly, Trinder and Nankivell and to the taking of disciplinary action under the Legal Profession Act 2004 against Mr Hart and Mr Paul. No corruption prevention recommendations are made in this report.

Findings of corrupt conduct

Findings of corrupt conduct are made against barrister John Hart and solicitor Anthony Paul for misleading various courts by providing false information about their clients, and for seeking to obtain money improperly from the Attorney General's Department  by agreeing to submit an artificially inflated costs claim.

Corrupt conduct findings are also made against Mr Hart's client, Jason Kelly, in respect to the costs claim, and for providing money to Mr Hart intended to pay an officer of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to adversely affect the officer's functions.

The Commission also finds that Mr Kelly, Christopher Trinder and Jeffrey Nankivell engaged in corrupt conduct by providing money to Mr Hart they intended he would use to pay to an officer of the DPP to ensure that no prosecution would commence against them arising from a sexual assault allegation.

Recommendations for prosecutions

The Commission must seek the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on whether any prosecution should be commenced. The DPP determines whether any criminal charges can be laid, and conducts all prosecutions. The Commission provides information on this website in relation to the status of prosecution recommendations and outcomes as advised by the DPP. The progress of matters is generally within the hands of the DPP. Accordingly, the Commission does not directly notify persons affected of advice received from the DPP or the progress of their matters generally.

The ICAC has recommended that the advice of the DPP be sought with respect to the prosecution of John Hart for 10 offences of perverting the course of justice contrary to the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), and four offences of false pretences contrary to the Crimes Act.

It also recommends DPP advice be sought with respect to the prosecution of Anthony Paul for an offence of perverting the course of justice, and each of Jason Kelly, Christopher Trinder and Jeffrey Nankivell for an offence of offering a corrupt benefit and an offence of perverting the course of justice.

Updates

Briefs concerning John Hart, Anthony Paul, Jason Kelly, Christopher Trinder and Jeffrey Nankivell were forwarded to the DPP. The matter has been referred from the DPP to the Crown Solicitors Office (CSO) for advice and action.

John Hart

The Commission has been advised by the Crown Solicitor's Office that the Department of Attorney General and Justice has commenced proceedings against Mr Hart for 10 counts of the offence of acting with intent to pervert the course of justice under section 319 of the Crimes Act, and one count of the offence of obtaining property with false pretence under section 179 of the Crimes Act. On 18 November 2013, Mr Hart pleaded guilty to five section 319 offences. The further five section 319 offences were placed on a form 1 to be taken into account on sentence. On 22 August 2014 Mr Hart was convicted and sentenced to 2 years and 9 months imprisonment, non-parole period of 1 year 10 months, for 5 counts of pervert the course of justice under section 319 Crimes Act 1900. Mr Hart appealed against sentence. The appeal was dismissed by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on 3 May 2016.

Anthony Paul

Mr Paul pleaded guilty to the offence of acting with intent to pervert the course of justice under section 319 of the Crimes Act. On 2 August 2013, he was sentenced in the NSW District Court to 16 months imprisonment, which was suspended upon his entering a good behaviour bond for the period.

Jason Kelly

The Commission has been advised by the Crown Solicitor's Office that the Department of Attorney General and Justice has commenced proceedings against Mr Kelly for one count of the offence of corruptly offering a benefit to an agent under section 249B(2)(a) of the Crimes Act. Mr Kelly pleaded not guilty to this charge and the matter was listed for hearing at the Downing Centre Local Court on 17 and 20 May 2013. On 20 May 2013, the Court dismissed the charge on the basis of there being no prima facie case and awarded costs in favour of Mr Kelly.

Christopher Trinder

The Commission has been advised by the Crown Solicitor that as no appeal will be filed against the court's decision in the Kelly matter, proceedings against Mr Trinder will not be commenced. The Commission has accepted this advice.

Jeffrey Nankivell

The Commission has received advice from the Crown Solicitors' Office that the Crown Solicitor has decided there was insufficient admissible evidence to prosecute Mr Nankivell.

Bradley Wheaton

The Commission has been advised by the Crown Solicitor's Office that the Department of Attorney General and Justice has determined that the charges against Mr Wheaton for two counts of the offence of making an omission with intent to pervert the course of justice under section 319 of the Crimes Act be withdrawn.

Recommendations for disciplinary action

The ICAC is of the opinion that consideration should be given to the taking of disciplinary action under the Legal Profession Act 2004 (NSW) against John Hart and Anthony Paul for unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct.

John Hart

Proceedings commenced by the Council of the New South Wales Bar Association against John Peter Hart were heard by the Court of Appeal on 21 March 2011, when the Court made the following formal orders:
 
1. A declaration that Mr Hart is guilty of professional misconduct;

2. A declaration that Mr Hart is not a fit and proper person to remain on the Roll maintained by the Supreme Court of NSW under s.32 of the Legal Profession Act 2004;

3. That the name of Mr Hart be removed from the Roll; and

4. That Mr Hart pay Claimant's costs of and incidental to these proceedings.

Anthony Paul

Disciplinary proceedings were commenced against Anthony Paul by the Law Society of NSW and were dealt with by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.

On 4 December 2012, the Tribunal found Mr Paul guilty of professional misconduct in relation to allegations that he:

  • appropriated to his own use the proceeds of cheques drawn on the account of his firm, Creagh Lisle, and payable to John Hart, Barrister

  • concealed from the partners of Creagh Lisle his conduct in the above

  • misled the Court

  • forged the signature of John Hart on a trust cheque

  • misappropriated client funds

  • failed to deal with client funds in accordance with the trust accounting provisions.

 It was ordered, by consent, that Mr Paul's name be removed from the Roll and that he pay the Law Society's costs.

Recommendations for corruption prevention

No corruption prevention recommendations are made in this report.

Media Releases Witness

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Download the Witness List (PDF)

Transcripts

View all transcripts associated with this investigation. The Commission makes every effort to post the daily transcripts of its public inquiries on its website by 8:00 pm each day when possible. If the Commission sits later than 4:00 pm, the daily transcripts, particularly the afternoon session, may not be available until the next working day.

 

Filename File Size KB Date pp. Time
21-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00001-00042 at 10.10AM to 12.58PM.pdf 152 21/09/09 00001-00042 10.10AM to 12.58PM
21-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00043-00078 at 2.10PM to 3.42PM.pdf 115 21/09/09 00043-00078 2.10PM to 3.42PM
22-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00079-00144 at 10.10AM to 1.00PM.pdf 222 22/09/09 00079-00144 10.10AM to 1.00PM
22-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00145-00153 at 2.06PM to 2.23PM.pdf 35 22/09/09 00145-00153 2.06PM to 2.23PM
23-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00154-00204 at 10.20AM to 1.02PM.pdf 179 23/09/09 00154-00204 10.20AM to 1.02PM
23-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00205-00241 at 2.08PM to 4.01PM.pdf 132 23/09/09 00205-00241 2.08PM to 4.01PM
24-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00242-00277 at 10.15AM to 12.18PM.pdf 117 24/09/09 00242-00277 10.15AM to 12.18PM
24-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00278-00315 at 2.15PM to 4.01PM.pdf 143 24/09/09 00278-00315 2.15PM to 4.01PM
25-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00316-00368 at 10.20AM to 1.01PM.pdf 185 25/09/09 00316-00368 10.20AM to 1.01PM
29-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00369-00406 at 10.10AM to 1.01PM.pdf 129 29/09/09 00369-00406 10.10AM to 1.01PM
29-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00407-00445 at 2.10PM to 4.06PM.pdf 127 29/09/09 00407-00445 2.10PM to 4.06PM
30-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00446-00487 at 10.15AM to 12.38PM.pdf 131 30/09/09 00446-00487 10.15AM to 12.38PM
30-09-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00488-00516 at 2.08PM to 3.29PM.pdf 106 30/09/09 00488-00516 2.08PM to 3.29PM
01-10-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00517-00570 at 9.30AM to 12.57PM.pdf 185 01/10/09 00517-00570 9.30AM to 12.57PM
01-10-2009 Segomo Inquiry pp. 00571-00590 at 2.07PM to 2.57PM.pdf 77 01/10/09 00571-00590 2.07PM to 2.57PM
Exhibits Public notices

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MEDIA ALERT: ICAC public inquiry into lobbying starts Monday

The ICAC's public inquiry into the regulation of lobbying, access and influence in NSW (Operation Eclipse) will start next Monday, 5 August 2019 at 10:00 am.

Public inquiry into allegations concerning political donations

The ICAC will hold a public inquiry starting Monday 26 August 2019 as part of an investigation it is conducting into allegations concerning political donations, the NSW Branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), members of Chinese Friends of Labor and others.

MEDIA ALERT: Operation Ember public inquiry continues Thursday 1 August

The ICAC's Operation Ember public inquiry will continue this Thursday, 1 August 2019, from 9:30 am.

New ICAC public inquiry into lobbying to start 5 August

The ICAC will hold a public inquiry commencing on Monday 5 August 2019 as part of a new investigation it is conducting into the regulation of lobbying, access and influence in NSW (Operation Eclipse).

MEDIA ALERT: ICAC Operation Skyline public inquiry to resume Wednesday 17 July 2019

The ICAC Operation Skyline public inquiry into allegations concerning the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council will resume tomorrow, Wednesday 17 July 2019, at 10:00 am.

MEDIA ALERT: Operation Ember public inquiry continues Friday 21 June

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption’s (ICAC) Operation Ember public inquiry will continue on Friday 21 June 2019 from 9:00 am.

ICAC finds former prison general manager and officers corrupt

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that the former general manager/governor of Lithgow Correctional Centre (LCC) and five Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) officers engaged in serious corrupt conduct in relation to the use of excessive force on an inmate and the associated cover-up of the incident.