ASIC comes in for a fair share of flack on this forum, so it is good to report a victory, the James Hardie-Asbestos Case.
"Of the eight witnesses called who attended a fateful board meeting on February 15, 2001, not one gave evidence that the central document of the case - a media release about asbestos compensation - was tabled at the meeting.
Nor did it help the Australian Securities and Investments Commission when it produced transcripts of earlier sworn statements from two key players in the drama who have since died, the James Hardie chairman Alan McGregor and a partner of law firm Allens Arthur Robinson, Peter Cameron.
Neither of them mentioned the release being tabled either.
With some understatement, Justice Ian Gzell said in his Thursday judgment that this lack of "positive evidence" from 10 witnesses did "not augur well for ASIC".
And the fierce fight put up by the defendants was hardly auspicious for the plaintiff. All had big reputations to protect, were able to rely on corporate indemnities to fund their share of what the judge described as "the enormous cost of this venture" and are, as he put it, "intelligent people".