Seminar reveals ICAC fears

Geoffrey Watson SC warns of “toothless tiger”

DW Fox Tucker last week had the privilege of hosting a special client presentation from leading Sydney barrister Geoffrey Watson SC on his reservations regarding SA’s proposed Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) model.

Speaking on Wednesday 29 May at the Adelaide Hilton, Mr Watson, who was Counsel Assisting Commissioner Ipp in the NSW ICAC’s recent high-profile hearings into the alleged corrupt activities of a number of Ministers in the former Labor Government, said he feared the SA ICAC could prove a “toothless tiger”.

“There’s little doubt that the broad sweep of the NSW ICAC’s powers have struck fear into the hearts of bad cops, corrupt politicians and others who have something to fear from these very public enquiries,” said Mr Watson.

“The SA model doesn’t allow for that kind of open disclosure.”

Mr Watson said the SA ICAC would be barred from holding public hearings and that the identity or affiliations of those called before it would not be revealed.

On a positive note, however, he believed SA was “incredibly lucky” to have former Federal and Supreme Court Judge Bruce Lander as its first Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.

The SA ICAC is due to launch in September 2013.

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