AWB legal victory

27 Jul, 2006 07:00 PM

THE beleaguered AWB has won the first battle in its fight to stop more than 1300 documents being tabled at the Cole inquiry after the Federal Court ruled last week that the court had jurisdiction over the documents¹ status.

After protracted legal argument from counsel for Commissioner Terence Cole and the AWB, the Federal Court ruled Commissioner Cole could not rule on the status of the documents or whether they were subject to legal privilege.

The Federal Government granted the commissioner access to the documents in June but an AWB court injunction stopped him from examining any material which was delivered mistakenly to the inquiry.

The next major decision the federal court faces will involve figuring out how the documents will be divided up and whether they will be assessed one by one or in volumes.

A directions hearing was held earlier this week but it had not finished when Farm Weekly went to press.

The court boost for the AWB could mean a further delay in the delivery of the findings of the Cole inquiry into AWB¹s actions in Iraq under the oil-for-food program.

AWB told Farm Weekly it had not received a writ for a damages claim being launched in the US on behalf of disgruntled northern hemisphere grain producers, despite reports of such a writ in the media.

The lawsuit centres on getting damages for lost marketing opportunities in the Middle East, due to AWB¹s alleged manipulation of the market.


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