Early this week the trial for ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle was to start in the Adelaide District Court. However, Richard and his entire legal team came down with Covid and the trial could not proceed.
But the trial cancellation didn’t stop us joining a rally of citizens calling for Richard’s case to be dropped. In the photo are SEA members Annette and Tina making our views known. The Australian Financial Review gave Richard’s case good exposure on Monday.
On 9 April 2018 an ABC Four Corners exposé was aired that exposed malpractice and small business abuse by the Australian Taxation Office. Ex-ATO debt collection officer Richard Boyle featured in the program, detailing malpractice in the ATO’s debt collection division. Essentially the ATO was raiding people’s bank accounts in defiance of its required rules.
Richard had lodged an internal report to the ATO detailing the malpractice which was ignored. Richard then followed lawful whistleblower procedures in going public. However, the ATO still went after him, initially with charges that would put Richard in jail for 161 years.
Richard’s report on ATO malpractice was subsequently proven to be accurate by both the Inspector-General of Taxation and the Small Business Ombudsman. A Senate Committee criticised the ATO.
Why the charges should be dropped
We have detailed why the charges against Richard should be dropped. See our full reasons here.
In summary, our reasons include:
- Richard’s whistleblowing was the moral thing to do. This impacts upon the appropriateness of the prosecution.
- The charges against Richard are the product of a witch-hunt.
- The length and expense of a trial is a waste of public resources.
- There is a need to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice.
In undertaking Richard’s prosecution, the Commonwealth risks creating the impression of conducting a cover-up of evidence of maladministration by the ATO. If not a cover-up, then at least a diversion from the truth. This seriously diminishes the confidence of the public in the tax administration system. Further, it seriously diminishes trust in the justice system itself, by delivering the potential impression that the justice system is likewise involved in covering up maladministration by the ATO.