25 February 2014

WA Vexation

Another sad judgment regarding a vexatious litigant, following up the items on Mohammed Tabibar Rahman and on the Vexatious Proceedings Bill 2014 (Vic).

In Attorney General v Keating [2000] WASC 93 the Court states that
Between 15 September 1998 and 26 September 1999 the respondent instituted a total of 101 complaints alleging a conspiracy to defeat justice by preventing his application for special leave to the High Court from being dealt with. One or more complaints was laid on each of 15 September 1998, 22 March 1999, 5 May 1999, 21 May 1999, 4 June 1999, 30 June 1999 and 20 September 1999.
Mr Keating had apparently perceived a conspiracy involving a doctor at St John of God Hospital, a person at the Applecross Nursing Home, the officer in charge of the High Court Registry in Perth, a mere five ophthalmologists, the Central Office Coordinator of the WA Supreme Court, an officer of the Commonwealth Attorney General's Department in Perth, the Commonwealth Attorney General, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, ASIO, a retired High Court Judge, the Commonwealth Ombudsman,a psychiatrist, three Federal police officers and sundry others. Alas, no legal partridge in a pear tree.

The WASC states that the
complaints were manifestly groundless. They could not have been founded on any reasonable belief that the defendants named in the complaints had committed the offence with which each was charged and in that sense they were plainly vexatious. I am satisfied that the respondent's conduct with respect to these complaints was persistent. A number of defendants had been repeatedly charged by the respondent with the same offence, after the earlier complaints had been discontinued by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The officer in charge of the High Court Registry in Perth, Mr Martin Jan, was charged four times. That is, he was the defendant in four successive complaints laid by the respondent. Of the 44 defendants charged in the last group of complaints, 26 had been the subject of earlier proceedings. 
In summary, the respondent has commenced two civil actions and within those actions which, for the most part, contained claims which were groundless, he made many groundless applications and launched a number of groundless appeals. By laying complaint after complaint, he charged a large number of persons, many repeatedly, with a very serious criminal offence - conspiracy to pervert the course of justice - without any reasonable foundation. I accept the Attorney General's submission that the concern and distress and the potential for damage to reputation and professional embarrassment which the institution of these proceedings would be likely to cause the defendants, many of whom hold high office, must be very substantial. It is appropriate that they be protected from further abuse of the processes of the courts.
Other WA Orders include Attorney General v Hunter [2002] WASC 189, Attorney General & Anor v Shaw [2004] WASC 280 and Legal Aid Western Australia v Wheaton [2006] WASC 219.