The Submissions of Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and (presumed) Corruption in relation to the so-called ‘Document Destruction’ by the QLD Construction and General Division Branch of the CFMEU are, to put it bluntly, the greatest load of sh*t any lawyer from any Royal Commission has ever put pen to paper.
They are errant nonsense, and don’t have a snowflake’s chance of hell of surviving even a committal hearing, let alone securing a conviction, not even against the biggest crook in the Qld union movement, Dave the Dog Hanna.
There are many blatant flaws in the submission, which I reckon say more about the author/s than they do about the people referred for prosecution, and I will tell you more about them in due course. But for now let me explain the very simple reason that any prosecution based on these submissions must fail.
It comes down to 2 words:
PERIOD and EVIDENCE.
The whole crux of the recommendations to prosecute Michael Ravbar and David Hanna is that they destroyed documents that they knew, believed or reasonably suspected to have been required by the Royal Commission.
For this to be true, the documents destroyed must have fallen within the period prescribed in the Notice to Produce Documents issued by the Royal Commission and served on the CFMEU at their National Headquarters in Melbourne on the afternoon on 1 April 2014, a few hours before their destruction.
The prescribed period is from 1 January 2007.
So that part’s simple.
To have committed an offence under any of the multitude of Acts that the Senior Counsel submits apply, even before you get to the intricate legal argument about whether Ravbar and/or Dave the Dog had knowledge, or should have had knowledge, that each individual document destroyed – what were they again? – was or may have been required for production to the Royal Commission, the first bar to be met is that either or both must have knowingly destroyed documents dating from 1 January 2007 onward.
Now here’s the Royal Commission’s problem.
There is none.
Not a skerrick.
No witness – not a single person – has said that any document dating from 1 January 2007 that was not also kept in electronic form, or could be reproduced in electronic form, was destroyed on 1 April 2014, or for that matter at any time thereafter.
To be convicted of a crime a jury – or, if the defendant elects, a single judge – must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the person accused of committing the crime alleged did in fact do so.
But there is simply no way on earth that, in the absence of any evidence affirming the fact (and indeed a mountain of testimony rebutting it) a jury could or would find that Ravbar and/or the Dog destroyed documents dating from or after 1 January 2007.
It’s simply impossible.
There are a hundred other problems with the Counsel’s submission, but you need look no further than this one. The essential test required to launch a prosecution cannot and will not ever be met. The whole debacle is doomed to fail before it begins.
It’s all over Grover. Trees have been murdered unnecessarily, coal is being burnt for no good reason, millions of dollars of our tax money has been spent without cause, and here I am wasting valuable minutes of my short life telling you why, and you wasting precious minutes of yours listening to me.
I’m not going to waste a minute more.
Just make sure that you recycle. Use the submission to clean the glass, or to make paper mache masks, or simply to wipe your ass if that’s what tickles your fancy.
Just don’t take the submission seriously.
Because if you do you’ll tag yourself as just as big a joke as the people who wrote it.