The state’s highest court has dismissed the corporate watchdog’s bid to reverse payments made to insolvency experts Martin Jones and Andrew Smith.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission opposed the remuneration payments to the pair but in 2021, Supreme Court of Western Australia Justice Kenneth Martin found its legal bid for a review to be “punitive”.
In a judgment delivered today, the WA Supreme Court of Appeal bench upheld Justice Martin’s decision to not review the remuneration payments and dismissed ASIC’s appeal.
ASIC sought to overturn the payments and claimed Mr Jones and Mr Smith lacked the independence to be administrators because their insolvency firm Ferrier Hodgson had provided services to GD Pork before its collapse, according to the judgment.
Ferrier Hodgson was acquired by KPMG in 2019.
The judgment said Ferrier Hodgson had received payment for work done before GD Pork went into administration.
Despite the Court of Appeal finding in favour of some of ASIC’s grounds of appeal, its application was dismissed.
“The conduct of a review would require remittal of the case and would involve further expense and delay, in a context where the proceedings have already taken a substantial period of time and consumed considerable resources,” the judgment said.
“Therefore, although some of the grounds of appeal have been established, we would not disturb the orders made by the primary judge disposing of the primary proceedings.
“While we would grant leave to appeal, the appeal should be dismissed.”
GD Pork was acquired by its rival, Westpork, in 2019.