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ALAN RAYMOND DUCRET (former ACCC Regional Director)


– Credited with the destruction of Australian technology and
causing the murder of Willem Van Der Horst –

TOPICS:


•   Authority – (para 1)
•   Maintaining the Status Quo – (para 3)
•   Conspiring to Defeat Justice – (para 11)
•   Intellectual Dishonesty – (para 20)
•   Summary of Aleged Criminal Acts – (para 36)
•   Complainant Charged – (para 38)
•   Inciting Murder and Suicide – (para 41)

Authority

1.    “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” These words were uttered by Lord Acton in 1887. And there could be no greater truth in them. Furthermore, they are words that aptly define the character and conduct of Alan Raymond Ducret during the many years that he wielded absolute power as Regional Director of the Trade Practices Commission (TPC) which became the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in 1995.

2.    The primary charter of the ACCC is to prevent 'anti-competitive conduct' and 'boycotting'. And yet he had instructed his senior staff to bring an Australian developer of mechanical carparking technology to its knees; at the same time giving every assistance to a competitor who was fraudulently marketing invalid patents. He had very effectively thrust his own agency into anti-competitive conduct and had used his authority to boycott the commercial activities of 52 Australian families.

Maintaining the Status Quo

3.    The ACCC (formerly TPC) has always taken great pride in the fact that the matters it litigates in a federal court have overwhelmingly been decided in its favour as Applicant. In fact, I recall that their success ratio in 1996 was a staggering 94 : 6. And I am about to tell you how it is possible to maintain such a high success rate.

4.    The name of their game is to win at all costs. And it does not matter what underhanded tactics (i.e. unlawful practices) need to be employed in order to achieve that win. The moment an Application is filed at a federal court registry the matter is then before the court and there is no backing down. And that is exactly what happened to the 52 families involved in the Europark mechanical carparking project.

5.    In our case, which is extensively described in my eBook autobiography, Beneath The Bench, the ACCC's overzealous officers had decided not to wait for their own patent attorney's report on whether or not my companies had infringed a former employee's patents. Ducret was far too eager for a win.

6.    And so, based on that former employee's (Willem Van Der Horst) false complaint to the ACCC they acted against all of us without regard for the financial losses and illnesses that would flow. I had sacked their complainant 18 months earlier because of his fraudulent conduct. And to compound his fraud he had set up his own mechanical carparking project in partnership with a Brisbane solicitor while still drawing income from my company. In truth, this complainant had become a competitor who wanted us out of the way. And the ACCC had just backed him.

7.    The ACCC's federal court Applications were filed and served on my wife, myself and my three companies on 27 July 1994. And their patent attorney's report which had been prepared by Dr Ian de Jonge was submitted a few days later and served on us on 12 August just 16 days after having dragged innocent families (investors, franchisees and staff) into a federal court by injuncting all of us from engaging in the development and marketing of mechanical carparking.

8.    But Dr de Jonge's report had proved conclusively that no infringement had taken place. And not only that, he had cited an expired 1957 US South Carolina patent that rendered the two Van Der Horst patents invalid. Or put another way, he had no valid technology of any concern. It was all in the public domain and therefore incapable of being re-patented. In short, it was available to anyone worldwide who might wish to use it.

9.    The ACCC was now facing a monumental loss. But that would never be, no matter who had to be hurt. And we had five and a half million dollars at risk and four and a half years of development work invested, which all meant nothing to them.

10.    The ACCC's success rate was about to be tarnished. They desperately needed to maintain the status quo.

Conspiring to Defeat Justice

11.    I will now turn the clock back to 7 June 1994 just seven weeks before service of those federal court Applications.

12.    We need to understand that the primary function of the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) is to litigate the actions of the ACCC in the same way that each of us would retain a Law Firm to act for us. And the AGS has an added incentive to ensure at all costs that they protect the reputation of their client (i.e. ACCC). Naturally, that means protecting their own reputation as well. After all, they are the government body responsible for getting legal proceedings off the ground and through trial.

13.    And yet, they had just prepared, filed and served a series of federal court Applications on us (i.e. Respondents) which were entirely unfounded. Of course, they had hoped that Dr de Jonge would give Ducret the justification he needed; but that was not to be. So what do you do when you have egg all over your face and staring down the barrel of a massive ACCC courtroom loss; not to mention the potential damages claim that could be brought by the Respondents?

14.    The answer is simple. Take whatever steps, unlawful or otherwise, to cover your tracks. It can never be seen that a government agency is incompetent. They need to keep their reputations intact.

15.    But the ACCC's planning had been well thought out before the Applications were served. That is, before the matter was before the federal court. Most of us know that once court proceedings are underway it is unlawful for a journalist to adversely influence the outcome.

16.    Enter Terence James Guthrie (Assistant Regional Director of the ACCC). He had been instructed by Ducret to convince the complainant to approach a journalist in the hope of getting a damaging newspaper article published well before trial. And that is exactly what happened. An article accusing myself of selling franchises based on the technology within the complainant's two patents was published on 7 June 1994 just seven weeks before the matter came before the court.

17.    This article would then be hidden in other documents and handed up to a compliant judge; and the AGS had that judge in mind – Justice Jeffrey Spender. He had a history of dishonesty and fraud long before his appointment to the federal court Bench. The link, Justice Jeffrey Spender, at the foot of this report and also in the website, www.BeneathTheBench.com explains more about “Australia's most notorious federal court judge”.

18.    The ACCC, under the direction of Ducret had now ensured the successful influencing of the trial in their favour by having a scurrilous newspaper article written about the Respondents. And in 1996 this criminal conduct was described in the Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914 (as amended) in Section 42 – Conspiracy to Defeat Justice. Yet, he and others involved were never charged by federal police.

19.    And if this was not enough, Ducret's role in the destruction of the finances and lives of our 52 families was about to reach an all-time high.

Intellectual Dishonesty

20.    The term, intellectual dishonesty, involves the ability to present a highly feasible argument that disguises the facts you are intent on hiding. It is a practice that is most widely used by the legal profession, particularly in courtrooms as barristers falsely assert what seem to be facts. It is very often described as 'legal abuse'; a stressor that has a damaging impact on the psyche and health of innocent litigants.

21.    Very few of us can cope with the incessant violation of our lives as we are subjected to the lies and wilful distortion of our actions and motives during court proceedings.

22.    Ducret's next set of instructions for his assistant, Guthrie, were nothing short of cunning, or criminal in intent, if you like. He had instructed Guthrie to brief the AGS regarding a deal they wanted to put to me.

23.    Stephen Ridgeway, a senior AGS solicitor and adviser to the ACCC was immediately briefed.

24.    By Friday, 13 October 1995 Ridgeway had been practising law for around seven years and all of it under the tutelage and conditioning of the AGS. He had learned his trade well and was about to ply the deceptive craft of intellectual dishonesty. He invited me to sit with him outside one of the courtrooms in Brisbane's federal court building.

25.    At this stage the ACCC was having difficulty finding a patent examiner to provide a report that would favour their position. So far, our rights were being conclusively endorsed, and the ACCC had its back against a wall and were desperate to emerge unscathed with their reputation intact. The same applied to the AGS who had wilfully acted prematurely under the instructions of Ducret.

26.    Ridgeway invited me to sit. (Note that the ACCC was still known as the TPC. The name-change would not occur until the following November just six weeks later.) He began:

      "Mr Eaton, the TPC is prepared to cease any further action against you on the proviso that the
      injunction against you remains in force until you take Mr Van Der Horst into court and have his
      two patents revoked."

27.    I was intrigued. I had phoned one of his AGS staff, Lesley Ziukelis (solicitor), in early September to ask how the examination of our technology was going. I had earlier given the ACCC and AGS our technology to compare it with the two invalid Van Der Horst patents. This was the first time, 12 months after we had been forced into court, that any government officer had seen the technology that they believed infringed these patents. In truth, the entire claim against us had been based on their psychic abilities.

28.    Now suddenly, the TPC wanted to withdraw from taking the matter into court – why? They knew full well that the Europark technology did not infringe the Van Der Horst patents and their willingness to withdraw was a blatant admission of this fact.

29.    They were obviously giving themselves the opportunity to back out while they could, with their image still intack. And they would also have the double advantage of keeping us injuncted (frozen) from trading in perpetuity, and here is why.

30.    Ridgeway had been sitting quietly waiting for my response to his offer, but undoubtedly not this one.

      “Why is it that we should have the responsibility and cost of taking Van Der Horst into a federal or
      supreme court to have his invalid patents revoked? Isn't it up to the TPC to ensure that no one in
      this nation is allowed to wander the streets scamming all and sundry by holding out that invalid
      patents actually have value?”

Ridgeway paused for a moment.

      "Well, that's the TPC's position. I'm just advising you.”

      “Stephen, surely you and Guthrie (TPC officer) understand that the cost of revocation of both Van
      Der Horst patents could amount to tens of thousands. And even then there is no guarantee that all
      of the twenty-one claims within his two patents could be knocked out in total. Any court will give
      the patentee the latitude needed to amend claims by narrowing the scope of such claims. We
      could walk out of court with Van Der Horst having only one claim standing in each patent. And
      although those remaining two claims would be valueless, he still holds two patents, and we're still
      frozen.”

At that stage I was becoming agitated at this appalling scheme to keep us injuncted in perpetuity at our cost.

      “No, Stephen, if all that is to come out of this trial is the exposing of Van Der Horst's
      fraudulent activities and his ability to perjure himself under oath, that will be some
      satisfaction to us.
  We will also be able to expose the TPC and AGS for their part in aiding and
      abetting his criminal actions.”

      “I hear you, Mr Eaton.”

31.    We went our separate ways, but I wondered about the intensity of their scheming from this point on.

32.    They had painted themselves into a corner and desperately needed to fall back on that bastardised adage, “If at first you don't succeed … cheat!”.   And that is exactly what they did under the authority of Ducret.

33.    The race was now on to find themselves a compliant patent attorney. They knew that if the price was right they could find any number of expert witnesses willing to furnish a report that would satisfy their ends. And it did not take long. Bingo, they found one, John Kingston Pizzey.

34.    Pizzey's report flew in the face of the examination reports provided by Dr de Jonge and Mr Trevor Dredge and it would prove to be the only report considered by the trial judge. But the AGS now needed to find the right judge; one with a reputation for dishonesty – a 'go to' judge. And there could have been no better judge than Jeffrey Ernest John Spender. He was the man who would step over evidence and facts to deliver a judgment in favour of the ACCC.

35.    And Justice Jeffrey Spender willingly did the bidding of the ACCC and AGS, in particular, the bidding of Ducret (ACCC). In fact, he exonerated the spurious conduct of Ducret and gave him far more than he could have hoped for.

Summary of Alleged Criminal Acts

36.    Alan Raymond Ducret had committed the following five acts by:

(a)     conspiring to defeat justice through his authorising of a newspaper publication that would be
         used to adversely affect the outcome of a trial;

(b)     attempting to pervert justice by deceptively trying to keep us injuncted in perpetuity;

(c)     fabricating evidence by successfully bribing a patent attorney to fabricate a patent
         examination report; and

(d)     obstructing justice through the use of a fabricated patent examination report.

(e)     obstructing justice by being party to the appointment of a compliant trial judge.

However, Ducret could not have succeeded without the following parties being complicit:

(a)     Terence James Guthrie (Assistant Director of the ACCC – now retired)

(b)     Stephen Ridgeway (AGS senior solicitor, now ACCC Commissioner)

(c)     Peter John Toy (AGS solicitor now with ACCC)

(d)     Lesley Anne Ziukelis (AGS solicitor)

(e)     Justice Jeffrey Spender (Justice of the Federal Court of Australia – now retired)

37.    Following an incredibly corrupt trial this potential felonry was about to leave an unimaginable legacy, and it was not just the loss of Australian technology to our European manufacturers. We became one of a long list of Australian technology developers who had been forced – by Australian bureaucracy – to lose their work to offshore interests.

Complainant Charged

38.    But before that legacy would unfold the Queensland CIB finally charged Willem Van Der Horst with 49 False Pretences charges under Section 426 of the Queensland criminal code. It was discovered that he had copied that expired 1957 US South Carolina patent and held it out to my staff and myself as being his own work. He had successfully duped our patent attorney and the Australian Patents Office as well. Unfortunately, these charges were laid just 12 months after trial.

39.    Some of the key evidence that had been given to police at least two years before trial was also provided to the ACCC in one of my affidavits. But the ACCC was not interested. Their court proceedings were already underway and they would never admit they had made a grave error.

40.    And our notorious Justice Spender dismissed this vital evidence immediately after the trial began. He was quick to deem it, inadmissible. The AGS had done well in orchestrating the right trial judge.

Inciting Murder and Suicide

41.    The ACCC's complainant, Willem Van Der Horst, was murdered in April 1999. He had been murdered by an investor he had also duped, along with many others. But it was the manner in which the ACCC, AGS and Justice Spender had protected him that caused him to become uncontrollably arrogant. My autobiography, Beneath The Bench, describes how his arrogance and violence which caused his murder was a direct result of the protection he was afforded.

42.    Our franchisees and investors had prepared a petition to Ducret pleading with him to prevent their complainant from raising public funds against his two invalid patents. And furthermore, to recognise that we were not the party acting in a misleading or deceptive manner – their complainant was. But nothing was done. He even perjured himself 20 times under oath and Justice Spender referred to him as a decent and honest witness. The complainant (my former employee) had become 35 feet tall and bulletproof.

43.    Regrettably, within three years following trial, the helplessness felt by Europark franchisees and investors caused many illnesses, and more regrettably, two suicides.

44.    If Alan Raymond Ducret could somehow absolve himself of the indefensible criminal acts described above then he and the others under his authority could never escape the judgment of the innocent 52 families whose lives were so badly violated.

45.    In truth, Justice Spender, Ducret's ACCC and Ridgeway's AGS could never absolve themselves of inciting the murder of Willem Van Der Horst nor could they say that they did not cause the suicides of two Europark franchisees. They were undeniably instrumental in these three deaths.

46.    It could be rightly said that they were so convincingly complicit in causing each of those three tragedies that Spender, Ducret, Guthrie, Ridgeway, Toy and Ziukelis should each face three manslaughter charges under Section 303 of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899 which states: A person who unlawfully kills another under such circumstances as not to constitute murder is guilty of “manslaughter”. Penalty: Life imprisonment.

47.    And there could not be a more fitting end for Alan Raymond Ducret and the five who acted under his authority and direction. But unfortunately, charges of manslaughter would never be laid against government officers and the judiciary. They play by their own set of rules which allows them to commit crimes "under the shield of law and in the name of justice".

 

Justice Jeffrey Spender (Retired)