Chief Judge John Pascoe’s criminal history is rather long and the evidence is some of the most powerful any prosecutor could ever want given a lot of it has already been tested in court. I have written about John Pascoe before in an extensive and well documented post in July 2011 titled “The handiwork of Chief Federal Magistrate John Pascoe – witness bribing, price-fixing, succumbing to blackmail to conceal a crime and lying to shareholders etc. Is there anything this man cannot do?” (Click here to read the post)
With the courts name change and the elevation of the Magistrates to Judges it is worth looking again at Mr Pascoe and who and what he is. The government have promoted the magistrates, yet failed to address the underlying problems of the court. That being its credibility with John Pascoe running the show.
John Pascoe’s criminal conduct was brought to light in a judgement handed down in 2004 by the then Federal Court judge, Justice Roger Gyles, in the matter, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission v George Weston Foods Limited  FCA 1093 (25 August 2004) (Click here to read the judgement)
As I have dealt with John Pascoe extensively before I will just recap the key points.
John Pascoe was CEO and Chairman of George Weston foods for almost 20 years before he was parachuted into the Chief Federal Magistrates position just a couple of months before the ACCC v George Weston Foods judgement in 2004. That judgement would have ended Mr Pascoe’s corporate career if he had not ended it himself by taking the Chief Federal Magistrate judicial position.
Overview of the previous post:
1. John Pascoe’s time as CEO / Director and Chairman of George Weston Foods where there was mass price-fixing, witness bribing and John Pascoe succumbed to blackmail by Dick Honan (Chairman of Manildra) to conceal price-fixing.
2. John Pascoe’s time as Director/Chairman of Aristocrat Leisure Limited where he was involved with making false and misleading statements and breaching continuous disclosure laws. This lead to a multi-million dollar payout to the victims.
3. John Pascoe’s attempt to conceal plagiarism by the former Federal Magistrate Jennifer Rimmer.
4. The fraud at the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia under his direction and management.
5. Chief Federal Magistrate John Pascoe hearing a case where there was an alleged breach of the Trade Practices Act. The same Trade Practices Act that John Pascoe was breaching on an ongoing basis when he was CEO/Chairman at George Western Foods.
6. Is Chief Federal Magistrate John Pascoe permanently out to lunch? His lazy work ethics as Chief Federal Magistrate.
And the dissection of the ACCC v George Weston Foods judgement in the previous post:
A quick outline of the case is that the ACCC took legal action against George Weston Foods for price-fixing and also one of its directors Paul Loneragan. George Weston Foods claim they sacked Paul Loneragan when they found out that he was trying to fix the price of flour but this does not stand up to scrutiny. Mysteriously the charges against Paul Loneragan were dropped as you will find out.
Questions: (re: ACCC – George Weston Foods) (Click here to read the judgement)
- In paragraph 7, John Pascoe obviously succumbed to corporate blackmail by Dick Honan to conceal the crime of attempted price-fixing of flour. Why did he do this?
- From paragraph 6, it looks fairly clear that Goodman Fielder was involved in the price-fixing as well. If this is correct, his company also colluded with Goodman Fielder to fix the price of flour and fraudulently ripped off the Australian public.
- In Paragraph 9 Justice Gyles says “It is of some significance that no notes were taken of the meeting between Pascoe and Loneragan. Pascoe considered whether the company should make disclosure to the ACCC but elected not to do so.” Why did John Pascoe not take notes? And why did John Pascoe not go to the ACCC?
- Paragraphs 10 to 15 deal with Loneragan’s termination. Why if John Pascoe sacked him did he not make other employees aware?
- Why did John Pascoe make out Loneragan had resigned?
- Why did John Pascoe give Paul Loneragan $461,787 when he left?
- Paul Loneragan’s actions were cause for summary dismissal and John Pascoe should not have paid him anything?
- In paragraph 14 John Pascoe re-employed Loneragan. Why did he re-employ him?
- In paragraph 14 Justice Gyles says: “Although the evidence is not very satisfactory, that arrangement appears to have continued in one form or another until at least October 2003, notwithstanding that Pascoe said in his s155 examination that the practice had ceased by late 2001.” Why did John Pascoe lie to the ACCC and tell them that it had ceased in 2001 when in fact it had continued until 2003?
- Paragraphs 16, 17 and 18 deal with previous price-fixing and it is interesting to note at the end of paragraph 16 Justice Gyles says “The penalty was imposed by Sheppard J on 7 October 1981. Pascoe gave evidence at the s155 examination that he had been the solicitor for Weston for some years before joining it.” So that means all the price-fixing was going on at the company either while John Pascoe was a solicitor for the company, a Director(1981), CEO and Director(1985 -2000) or Chairman (2000).
- Paragraph 21 shows your abuse of the legal system in delaying tactics. Why did John Pascoe do this?
- In Paragraph 23 Justice Gyles says “An alternative hypothesis, of course, is that this kind of activity was commonplace in a tightly organised oligopoly and that this incident only came to light because of Dick Honan’s desire to play it as a card in a collateral commercial dispute. The evidence given by Loneragan as to his discussion with the officer of Goodman Fielder is to be noted.” Is this is true? John Pascoe and George Weston Foods were ripping of the public for years if not decades?
- Why did the ACCC not prosecute Loneragan? Did John Pascoe negotiate a settlement with them via his mate and ACCC Chairman Graeme Samual?
- In Paragraph 24 Justice Gyles says “These decisions are sought to be justified by the receipt of legal advice as to defamation on the one hand and an action for wrongful dismissal on the other. That legal advice has not been tendered and no author has been called. Weston has gone to considerable lengths to avoid any disclosure of that legal advice in the course of these proceedings. In the absence of that evidence and in the light of the circumstances, I do not take that explanation seriously”. John Pascoe is a qualified lawyer and did not need to get legal advice. Justice Gyles is in effect calling John Pascoe a liar? This is important as it is consistent with what happened at Aristocrat when John Pascoe was Chairman there and I will raise it later in this post.
- In paragraph 25 Justice Gyles again basically calls John Pascoe a liar. John Pascoe was telling the ACCC one thing and doing the total opposite. Why was this?
- In paragraph 26 Justice Gyles says: “On the evidence before me the conclusion is open that Weston was keeping Loneragan ‘on side’ during the ACCC investigations. Whether that is so or not, there is much concerning the contravening conduct and its aftermath which has not been satisfactorily explained.” This is in effect bribing a witness? John Pascoe kept him on the payroll so he did not spill the beans against John Pascoe and George Weston Foods.
- In paragraph 27 Justice Gyles says: “What is more, the conduct is typical cartel behaviour, very similar in substance to that in which the company was involved in the glucose price-fixing case. Such behaviour is notoriously difficult to detect. In those cases where it is detected, deterrence demands a heavy penalty.” The average person would think that the price-fixing was rampant over many years which is was.
- In paragraph 31 Justice Gyles says: “I am not persuaded that the orders sought concerning a compliance program should be made in this case. I have said that I am satisfied that the existing compliance program is serious and well designed. No compliance program can effectively deal with deliberate breaches by those at board level.” Having regard for the numerous breaches of the laws and the continued price-fixing, why was this continually happening on John Pascoe’s watch?
- Lying during a s155 examination is a criminal offence and clearly John Pascoe has never been charged. Why is this? This is the same offence that Richard Pratt was charged for.
As of last Friday the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia was renamed the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Why the courts name change? On the Attorney-General’s website it says “The new title of Judge also better reflects the status of this court, created under Chapter III of the Australian Constitution.” It seems a waste of time to me and was only done for the egos of the magistrates who can now call themselves a Judge. Also the name might have been changed to hide the poor history of the Federal Magistrates Court, but a name change will only do that short-term unless underlying problems are addressed. Getting rid of John Pascoe is the first priority if the court is going have any credibility.
A new judicial complaints process also started operation last Friday which I will do a separate post on in the near future. I might even give it a road test and make a formal complaint about one of the many corrupt judges which I have done before to no avail. It says on the website for Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC:
“This new complaints framework will ensure complaints against federal judicial officers are handled fairly and transparently while maintaining the constitutional independence of the judiciary,” said Mr Dreyfus (Click here to read more)This website is an anti-corruption site and relies on donations to continue the work. If you would like to support this site it would be greatly appreciated if you make a donation. Just click on the button below to donate via PayPal or for direct bank transfer details go to the donations page above.
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