Blackmail charges against the leaders of Victoria’s biggest building union might never get to trial even if the two accused men lose their next court challenge.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union state secretary John Setka and deputy Shaun Reardon are trying to have the charges against them quashed and will take their fight to the Court of Appeal next year, having already had a magistrate and a Supreme Court judge rule against them and declare the charges legitimate.
With the case close to entering its third year before the courts, Mr Setka and Mr Reardon on Tuesday appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court, which heard the two men and their lawyers would take their fight against the validity of the charges to the High Court if the Court of Appeal ruled against them.
If the matter goes to the High Court, there is a chance Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions might decide the case is not worth prosecuting, the court heard.
“I just don’t know what the director’s position will be,” prosecutor Ray Gibson told the court on Tuesday.
Police allege Mr Setka and Mr Reardon blackmailed Boral executives Paul Dalton and Peter Head in April 2013 by getting building companies to stop using Boral concrete after the company ??refused to meet union demands.
Mr Setka, 53, and Mr Reardon, 49, were charged in December 2015 and last year tried to have a magistrate rule the charges were invalid under consumer laws governing industrial disputes.
But magistrate Kay Robertson found the criminal charges were valid, as did Supreme Court Justice James Elliott this year.
Lawyers for the two union leaders appealed against both rulings.
Mr Setka and Mr Reardon are due to face a committal – the hearing that determines whether they stand trial – in May next year, but must wait for the Court of Appeal ruling beforehand.
They are to go before the Court of Appeal in February.
Defence counsel Robert Richter, QC, said on Tuesday the pair would appeal to the High Court if the appeals court ruled against them.
Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg??? set aside days in September next year for the committal hearing and extended the pair’s bail.
The case will return before a magistrate on March 1 for an update.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.