The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has begun criminal proceedings in the Federal Court against Mr John Patrick Neville for allegedly providing false and misleading evidence in the course of an investigation.
In 2006, the ACCC convened a number of examinations under section 155* of the Trade Practices Act 1974 as part of an investigation into alleged collusive activity between a group of real estate agents.
The ACCC was investigating whether these real estate agents had sought to pressure local real estate publishers, through a variety of means, not to publish advertisements from two real estate agents who were seeking to advertise commission rates and a flat fee commission.
The ACCC has alleged that Mr Neville provided false and misleading evidence** in the course of these examinations.
A further directions hearing for this matter has been set down before Justice Lindgren on 23 May 2007.
Mr Neville has not entered a plea at this time.
*Section 155 of the Act gives the ACCC broad investigatory powers to obtain information, documents and evidence in relation to possible contraventions of the Act.
** Section 155(5) of the Act makes it an offence for a person to knowingly furnish information or evidence that is false or misleading in purported compliance with a section 155 Notice. Each offence under section 155 carries a fine of up to $2,200 or up to 12 months imprisonment.
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