Document destruction perverted American justice

Document destruction perverted American justice

By Mark Chillingworth

The managing director of Imperial Tobacco Australia, Nick Cannar has been summoned by the US Justice Department to answer allegations that he perverted the course of justice by allegedly destroying documents when he worked as legal counsel for British American Tobacco in Australia.

A 500 page summons was placed with the New South Wales Supreme Court last week by the US Justice Department.

Mr Cannar was a legal counsel with British American Tobacco (BAT) and is implicated by Slater & Gordon, the solicitors fighting BAT on deceased Rolah Ann MacCabe's behalf, as being central to the alleged document destruction that took place at BAT. Mr Cannar along with Patrick Sheehey the chairman of BAT Industries at the time are alleged to have devised a 'spring cleaning' campaign to destroy research documents that prove that BAT knew that cigarettes cause cancer.

Brendan Scott, a solicitor with Gilbert + Tobin explained that destroying documents in Australia that has ramifications for justice in America is still a perversion of the laws in America.

"If you had a document now in Australia that would put President Bush in jail and you destroyed that to prevent this happening, that is just as much a perversion of justice in America as it is here," he said.

Imperial Tobacco Australia was contacted for a comment by Image & Data Manager, but no one would comment on Mr Canner's summons.

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