Following an investigation by the ACCC, criminal charges have been laid against The Country Care Group Pty Ltd (Country Care), its Managing Director, Robert Hogan, and a former employee, Cameron Harrison.
The charges relate to alleged cartel conduct involving assistive technology products used in rehabilitation and aged care, including beds and mattresses, wheelchairs and walking frames.
Country Care is based in Mildura, Victoria.
The charges are listed for mention before the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria in Mildura on 14 March 2018.
“This is the first criminal prosecution of an Australian corporation under the criminal cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“It is also the first time that individuals have been prosecuted under the criminal cartel provisions in Australia.”
Given this is a criminal matter currently before the Court, the ACCC will not be providing further comment at this time.
The ACCC investigates cartel conduct, manages the immunity process and, in respect of civil cartel contraventions, takes proceedings in the Federal Court.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) is responsible for prosecuting criminal cartel offences in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth. The ACCC refers serious cartel conduct to the CDPP for consideration of prosecution in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the CDPP and the ACCC regarding Serious Cartel Conduct.
The charges have been filed in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. If the Magistrate determines that there is sufficient evidence for the matter to proceed then it is likely that the matter will be heard in the Federal Court of Australia.
Anyone with information about cartel conduct is urged to call the ACCC Cartel Hotline on (02) 9230 3894.