Former Labor politician Eddie Obeid, who was found to have acted dishonestly by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption over a Hunter Valley coal mine deal that netted the Obeid family $30 million, has lost his Supreme Court case against the finding.
The 2013 ICAC report found former NSW Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian MacDonald engaged in corrupt conduct in a deal involving the Mount Penny coal mining licence on land owned by the Obeids in the Bylong Valley. ICAC also found Obeid’s son, Moses, was also found to have acted corruptly.
The findings resulted in criminal proceedings being launched against Eddie Obeid snr and his son Moses.
Obeid and three of his five sons, Moses, Paul and Edward Jr, sued for damages in a civil action against the ICAC, former commissioner David Ipp, counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson and others, claiming misfeasance in public office and that they were denied procedural fairness.
As a result the Obeids claimed they suffered damage to their reputations, along with stress, mental anxiety and injury as a result of the six-month 2012 inquiry, which also made similar findings against lawyers John McGuigan and John Atkinson, businessman John Kinghorn, and banker Richard Poole.
Today, Supreme Court justice David Hammerschlag dismissed the Obeid case saying it failed against all the defendants. Outside the court, Moses Obeid hinted the family may appeal the verdict, saying there was “a long way to go yet”.
The ICAC verdict has had long and fare-reaching consequences for all involved, with the ACCC launching legal action last year against former Cascade Coal directors McGuigan and Paul and Obeid sons Moses and Paul, and McGuigan’s son James as a result, accusing them of cartel conduct.
Justice Hammerschlag has yet to make a decision on costs in today’s verdict, but his conclusion may leave the Obeid family liable to millions of dollars in legal bills.
The full decision is here.