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Issue #1590      April 24, 2013

CFMEU vindicated after Ballard appeal dismissed

The NSW Supreme Court last week threw out an attempt by former demolition company owner David Ballard to appeal the decision in his long-running conspiracy case against Multiplex and the CFMEU (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union).

Documents tendered to the court to support his bid for an appeal show that Ballard’s fight against Multiplex and the CFMEU was funded to the tune of $4.7 million by Queensland property developer Roy Thompson.

The decision completes all legal action surrounding the case with former CFMEU secretary Andrew Ferguson recently reaching a confidential defamation settlement with Channel Seven over its coverage of the Ballard claims.

CFMEU NSW president Rita Mallia said the judgment represented a “complete vindication of the CFMEU and Mr Ferguson”.

“We welcome the end of this long-running matter. At a time when safety is being undermined across NSW construction sites by cuts to WorkCover, this ongoing legal case has been an unwelcome distraction.”

Ballard, also known as Sharky Ramon, lost his original case in May last year when Justice McDougall comprehensively rejected the evidence of Ballard’s witnesses as “implausible”, “false” and “far fetched”. Documents reveal this latest bid to resurrect the case was also funded by Mr Thompson.

Ballard sought to set aside the order to pay security for costs on the grounds his former lawyers Sagacious Legal had withdrawn their services, despite an earlier legal agreement to “pay, and not charge the client for all expenses and disbursements connected with any appeal”.

He further claimed he had no money to pay the appeal and owed money to Thompson for which he had no equity in his properties to pay. Thompson gave evidence that he was prepared to fund the appeal for a further $80,000, but would not pay the security for costs – with the prospect of recouping the costs if the appeal was successful.

In her judgement to dismiss the appeal, Justice Julie Ward found this position to be unreasonable. Justice Ward also confirmed her view the likely prospect of any appeal was “slim”, with “very substantial obstacles to be overcome in order for the appeal to succeed”, including the difficulty of overturning the adverse credit findings of his witnesses.   

Next article – Intrigue, connivance, the undermining of a gov’t – Part 2: Economic crisis

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