— Australia's most notorious federal court judge —


  A Tainted History (para 1)
  The Perfect Pawn (para 7)
  Nolle Prosequi Silk Judicial Office (para 10)
  Fitzgerald Inquiry 1987-89 (para 18)
  Section 140 Attempting to pervert justice (para 21)
  Section 408(C) Fraud (para 25)
  Section 32 Judicial Corruption (para 29)
  Section 303 Manslaughter (para 30)
  The Artful Dodger (para 35)
  Retirement (para 36)

A Tainted History

1.    Justice Jeffrey Ernest John Spender retired as a federal court judge in 2010 after 26 years on the Bench a term of judicial office that served only to cap an extensive history of alleged criminal conduct within the Australian legal system.

2.    Even before his appointment as a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia he had begun tainting his career with dishonesty and fraud. The following link is an excerpt from Chapter One of Beneath The Bench. It is a clear indicator of that dishonesty and fraudulent conduct; and on this particular occasion he was acting as Crown prosecutor in the Russell Island conspiracy case.

3.    Having read that excerpt it becomes patently clear that Jeffrey Spender (as prosecutor) had allegedly acted with criminal intent in order to protract that trial for the sole purpose of defrauding the State of Queensland. And no other criminal trial in Australia's legal history had ever run for 316 sitting days over a 20-month period. There were eight defendants (accused). It was the early 1980s.

4.    The Queensland Fraud Squad had originally indicted 16 defendants under "Conspiracy to defraud the public". And as you have read, Jeffrey Spender dropped this charge against seven of the more high profile defendants such as a lawyer and high ranking politician. He later released another defendant who was about to receive a Papal Knighthood, but continued to vehemently argue his right to stay with the erroneous charges of Conspiracy.

5.    Spender's refusal to convert the trial from Conspiracy (which could never have been proved) to eight individual False Pretences charges had financially prospered not only himself but defence counsel as well; all of whom were paid by the Public Defenders Office to represent the eight accused. As humourously stated by one of the defence counsel, Mr Jim Barbeler, "I still refer to an extension on our home as the Russell Island wing".

6.    But it was not just the duration of the 20-month trial that prospered the legal parties involved; the Committal proceedings prior to trial had lasted for three months. And then there was their involvement with the defendants from the time charges were laid in October 1979. The feeding frenzy had lasted for the better part of 40 months (i.e. 3 years 4 months)... well done, Jeffrey.

The Perfect Pawn

7.    Most of us would face multiple charges under s.408(C) Fraud of the Queensland Criminal Code for having dishonestly obtained a financial advantage for ourselves and others; but not so for this barrister turned prosecutor. He also avoided one charge under s.140 Attempting to pervert justice (i.e. obstructing justice) and why?

8.    Corruption within Queensland's Joh Bjelke-Petersen government was at its height in the early 1980s. And Joh (as Premier) had developed the art of creating Generals out of postmen an age-old tactic designed to ensure ownership and control of the General.

9.    In Spender's case, he had now proved his ability to manipulate the law and rape the public purse for personal gain. He had unwittingly set himself up with a profile that no corrupt government could possibly overlook. He was the perfect pawn . the perfect 'go to' man if a government agency needed a judge to do something underhanded or something unlawful "under the shield of law and in the name of justice".

Nolle Prosequi Silk Judicial Office

10.    And so, prior to the end of the Russell Island conspiracy trial Spender was offered an appointment on the Bench of the newly-formed Federal Court of Australia (Queensland Division); an elevation in status that would guarantee his loyalty if ever called upon to bend the application of law.

11.    But first, he needed to wind up the trial. So, 14 days into the jury deliberating its verdict he used the mental illness of a juror as an excuse. He immediately entered the Brisbane District Court and declared, nolle prosequi; in short, there will be no further prosecution of the accused, they are free to go. Queensland taxpayers had just been defrauded out of millions of dollars and had gained absolutely nothing justice had not been done. It was 9 March 1983.

12.    The next immediate step was to rush him through the process of 'taking Silk'. It would be imperative that he became Queen's Counsel (QC) prior to his being appointed to the Bench.

13.    In late 1983 Spender became Mr Jeffrey Spender QC followed quickly, on 17 May 1984, by the rank and title of The Honourable Justice Jeffrey Spender. He was now a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia and ready to do the bidding of his political masters and we can forget about 'the independence of the judiciary' which is little more than a veil to hide behind; a pretence. In reality, there is no such thing.

14.    Throughout this judge's record-breaking 26 years on the Bench he very often flagrantly displayed his corrupt nature. It was as if he was clamouring for notoriety (or at least, recognition) knowing that 'Absolute Privilege' would keep him immune to criminal prosecution. He once ruled that a convicted fraudster should have his passport returned to him by Australian Federal Police (AFP) and he openly boasted about it. And yet, the AFP had already charged the offender with domestic and international fraud. But it made the newspapers, and that was all that mattered.

15.    And in spite of strong allegations made, no one was ever able to link the judge to any financial agenda involving personal monetary gain for his favourable decision.

16.    In another major civil matter Spender J ruled in favour of two government agencies just to protect government officers from civil and criminal prosecution. His judgment was a vile litany of false statements that defied the evidence in both oral and written testimonies. And in doing so, he violated the rights of 52 Australian families who were heavily involved in the development and international marketing of a mechanical carparking system. They lost millions of dollars and two of them to suicide.

17.    The list of curious and dubious judgments went on and on to the detriment of innocent individual and corporate litigants. In time, and in certain quarters, the name, Justice Spender, would become synonymous with Judicial Corruption.

Fitzgerald Inquiry 1987-89

18.    During his time as a federal court judge, Spender J had allegedly committed a series of crimes under the Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914 (as amended). And yet, he was only ever charged once. I will briefly describe this matter further on.

19.    But it is his alleged crimes before becoming a judge that caused many to be outraged; crimes so significant that they "rocked the legal profession" in Queensland. As earlier described, he had blatantly defrauded the State's public purse and yet he was rewarded for his dishonesty.

20.    However, thanks to the Justice Tony Fitzgerald inquiry (1987-1989) into corruption within the conduct of politicians, government agencies (including State police) and certain members of the judiciary, the chances of another Jeffrey Ernest John Spender being nominated by a Queensland politician and subsequently being appointed to the federal court Bench are highly unlikely.

Section 140 Attempting to pervert justice (Queensland Criminal Code)

21.    In truth, it was generally agreed by certain legal practitioners at the time that Jeffrey Spender (as prosecutor in the Russell Island Land Fraud trial) personally escaped being charged under two sections of the Queensland Criminal Code. The first section deals with the manner in which he obstructed justice by wilfully dragging the trial out with conspiracy charges which he knew would never stick. He could never have secured a conviction under 'conspiracy', and he knew it.

22.    So, the first of the two sections was 1983's equivalent of today's s.140 Attempting to pervert justice (i.e. obstructing justice).

23.    Ironically, this charge is the first of the charges that his dishonesty helped him to avoid:

s.140 (1) A person who attempts to obstruct, prevent, pervert, or defeat the course of justice is guilty of a crime.

Maximun penalty 7 years imprisonment

24.    But the more damning charges he personally escaped because of his dishonesty were under 1983's equivalent of today's s.408(C):

Section 408(C) Fraud (Queensland Criminal Code)

25.     Again, ironically, these are also the charges his dishonesty helped him to avoid:

408(C) (1)   A person who dishonestly:

                  (b)  obtains property [includes money] from any person [includes a government body]; or

                  (d)  gains a benefit or advantage, pecuniary or otherwise, for any person [four defence
                        counsel benefited]; or

                  (e)  causes a detriment, pecuniary or otherwise, to any person [the Queensland
                        government]; or

                  (f)   induces any person to do any act which the person [four defence counsel]
                        is lawfully entitled to abstain from doing;

                  commits the crime of fraud.

            (2A)  The offender is liable to imprisonment for 20 years, if, for an offence against
                     subsection (1):

                    (a)  the property, or the yield to the offender from the dishonesty, or the detriment
                          caused, is of a value of at least $100,000
[Spender siphoned off just in excess
                          of three million dollars ($3,000,000), much of it for himself and four others]; or

                    (b)  the offender carries on the business of committing the offence. [Spender repeated
                          the offence 316 times.]

26.    A reasonably zealous, but conscientious prosecutor within the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions would be entitled to lay 1,580 charges* against Jeffrey Spender under the 1983 equivalent of s.408(C) 1(b), (d), (e) and (f); and call for a custodial sentence of 20 years under s.408(C) 2A(a) and (b).

27.    And a less zealous prosecutor would stay with 316 charges, being the number of sitting days that Spender appeared in Court with the four defence counsel; each sitting day representing a repeat of the dishonesty upon which the entire trial was founded.

28.    And it is important to note that in fraud related matters the clock does not run against the Crown (Nullum tempus occurrit regi). Jeffrey Spender could still be charged at any time.

* The 1,580 charges against Spender have been calculated thus:

    (a)  He benefited himself a minimum of 316 times; one charge for each court sitting day.

    (b)  He induced four defence counsel to act unlawfully by refusing to reduce the charges to False
instead of Conspiracy; and effectively induced each of the four 316 times = 1,264
           charges. Added to which is (a) above, making a total of 1,580 charges (i.e. 316 + 1,264).

Section 32 - Judicial Corruption [Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914 (as amended)]

29.    In March 1998, Justice Spender had finally been charged. But these charges against him were under two sections of the Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914 (as amended) s.32 Judicial Corruption (12 charges) and s.43 Attempt to Pervert Justice (one charge). Yet, in spite of a convincing 'brief of evidence' containing watertight facts, a highly nervous federal court magistrate (Mr Basil Gribbin SM) ruled against the prosecutor's case and Spender was allowed to continue his potentially damaging onslaught as a federal court judge for another 12 years.

Net Result: No jail time; just a prestigious 26-year-reign as a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia.

Section 303 - Manslaughter (3 charges under the Queensland Criminal Code)

30.    The above charges of Judicial Corruption had been brought against Spender J by a group of franchisees involved in mechanical carparking. Their rights had been violated by government officers who had believed a complaint concerning their alleged infringement of the complainant's patents. Accordingly, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had thrust all of them into a federal court before realising that the complaint was false.

31.    And typical of government agencies they brought in a judge to get them off a hook. And that was Justice Jeffrey Spender notoriously known as the 'go to' judge, as earlier mentioned. During trial, he wilfully threw out key admissible evidence including the written and oral testimonies of eminent patent attorneys.

32.    As a result of his protecting the complainant, one Willem Van Der Horst, (a former employee of the Europark franchisees) and the reputations of government officers who had acted criminally, Justice Spender had caused the murder of the complainant and two suicides within the franchisees.

33.    The reasons for these accusations are adequately covered in the link, Alan Raymond Ducret (former ACCC Regional Director), at the foot of this report and also more extensively covered within Garth Eaton's eBook autobiography, Beneath The Bench, www.BeneathTheBench.com.

34.    Suffice it to say that our Justice Jeffrey Spender (Ret'd) will continue to avoid being charged with Manslaughter under s.303 of the Queensland Criminal Code even though his conduct and that of others caused three deaths.

The Artful Dodger

35.    Spender J had dodged the following criminal charges and associated convictions on three separate occasions during his questionable legal career as:

(a)   Crown Prosecutor (District Criminal Court) Russell Island Land Fraud trial (1979 1983)

       Charge avoided: Fraud s.408(C) 1(b), (d), (e), and (f) of the Queensland Criminal Code
       Penalty avoided: Imprisonment for 20 years

       Charge avoided: Obstructing Justice – s.140 of the Queensland Criminal Code
       Penalty avoided: Imprisonment for 7 years

(b)   Trial Judge (Federal Court of Australia) ACCC v Europark International & Ors (QG 74 of 1994)

       Charge avoided: Judicial Corruption s.32 Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914 (as amended)
       Penalty avoided: Imprisonment for 10 years years

(c)   Trial Judge (Federal Court of Australia) ACCC v Europark International & Ors (QG 74 of 1994)

       Charge avoided: Manslaughter s.303 of the Queensland Criminal Code
       Penalty avoided: Imprisonment for life


36.    On his retirement from the Bench in July 2010 Justice Spender was still not at the mandatory retirement age of 70. He had pulled up stumps early because of the inevitability that he would never be appointed Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia. He simply carried too many scars. He had been the subject of too many serious complaints. And his earlier history of dishonesty and violation had always worked against him.


Alan Raymond Ducret (former ACCC Regional Director)