The Federal Court in Brisbane has found Mr Robert Paul Davies guilty of aiding and abetting the failure by Natural Food Vending Pty Ltd (Natural Food Vending) to comply with a compulsory notice issued by the ACCC.

Mr Davies defended the charge, but was found guilty of an offence against section 155(5) of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (now called the Competition and Consumer Act 2010) (the Act).

In 2010, the ACCC issued a notice under section 155 of the Act to Natural Food Vending, requiring it to provide certain information and documents. The notice was issued as part of the ACCC’s investigation into allegations that Natural Food Vending made false or misleading representations in the promotion and sale of vending machine business opportunities.

Natural Food Vending appointed a liquidator on the morning of the day that the response to the section 155 notice was due. Natural Food Vending failed to provide any of the information or documents required by the notice.

The Federal Court found that as the sole director of Natural Food Vending, Mr Davies intended to, and did, aid, abet, counsel or procure the failure of Natural Food Vending to comply with the section 155 notice.

The matter will return to the Federal Court for a sentencing hearing on a date to be determined. While the ACCC commenced these proceedings, the charges are being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.