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    « Those pesky typos | Main | Let them eat handbags »
    Tuesday
    Dec062011

    Order to Keddies: show cause 

    Contempt of court … Intrusion into overcharging proceedings … Prime facie breach of undertakings and injunctions … Raising fingers of scorn at Supreme Court ... Keddies Three expected to be cross-examined by Stitt QC 

    Justice Michael Adams (NSW Supremes) has asked the Keddies' partners, Scott Roulstone, Tony Barakat and Russell Keddie, to show cause why they should not be dealt with for contempt of court. 

    Adams said he wants Roulstone, Barakat and Keddie in court at 2pm tomorrow (Wednesday, Dec. 7) as they may need to be cross-examined.  

    "This is serious … There better be a good explanation," the judge said. 

    "If I decide [their behaviour is] contemptuous, certain things follow." 

    The Keddies boys gave undertakings on November 22 they they would not approach former clients who have brought actions against them in the District Court for overcharging and breach of contract.

    On November 24 Adams issued an injunction to that effect and again in similar terms on November 30. 

    Sydney solicitor Stephen Firth is representing the former Keddies' clients in their District Court cases. 

    In all there are about 100 clients who claimed to have been overcharged by Keddies for personal injury actions. About 20 cases have already settled, 35 are listed for hearing and a further 40 are waiting for a hearing date. 

    Bob Stitt QC, for Firth, submitted today (Tuesday, Dec. 6) that the Keddies' partners had prima facie breached the injunction not to approach the overcharged clients with offers of settlement and deeds of release. 

    An affidavit from former client Xi Li said he had been paid $80,000 to settle his overcharging action against Keddies. This occured on December 1. 

    It's the latest in a number of settlements, some arranged by mysterious agents, allegedly unknown by the Keddies Three, but some of whom at various times worked for their personal injury law shop. 

    Earlier affidavits were to the effect that clients had been paid off without Firth being approached or without the clients receiving independent advice about the proposed settlements. 

    Adams said today that "it seems clear there has been a breach of the injunction".  

    "It's difficult to understand how there could be any ground for a misunderstanding … I thought it would be inconceivable that a solicitor would not obey an order of the court." 

    Stitt said that the defendants have "raised the traditional fingers of scorn at this court. They should be brought to heel".  

    To date Roulstone, Barakat and Keddie have avoided cross-examination in public on anything to do with their professional conduct. 

    The Keddies Three were granted more time to answer a subpoena seeking documents relating to these underhand settlements: trust account records, copies of cheques, files, etc. 

    Branson: interruptionAdams said the subpoena was not oppressive and the material has to be produced by December 15. 

    This morning there was a flair-up between Adams and Chris Branson QC, counsel for the Keddies Three. 

    Branson said there was procedural unfairness attached to the production of Xi Li's affidavit. 

    When Adams was speaking Branson interrupted. The judge asked him not to interrupt - to no avail. 

    A request for an apology was declined and two court officers were called to attend. 

    Decorum was restored after Branson issued a grovel. 

    More tomorrow … 

    Affidavit of Stephen Firth, December 6, 2011

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