Siding case sidelined

THE COURTS:

The Bug’s Brisbane-based finance and investment columnist has succeeded in securing an adjournment on the first day of his trial in the Queensland Supreme Court on dozens of charges under consumer protection and building laws.

Morrison Edison Ponzi Phar Lap Bezzle, age and address unknown, (main picture) pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the marketing of building renovation materials that were allegedly unfit for purpose.

During a brief start to the case Crown Prosecutors outlined a lengthy list of charges against Bezzle who was alleged to have sold quantities of aluminium siding, a once-popular home renovation product, to dozens of consumers even though he knew the material being sold was unsafe and not fit for purpose after being in storage for more than 50 years.

The court was told Bezzle had mounted a sophisticated online marketing campaign to entice consumers to buy the aluminium siding which he marketed during the recent royal jubilee celebrations as Her Majesty’s Platinum Siding and had recorded sales totalling close to $1.4 million.

The prosecution alleged Bezzle had told police he had secured the aluminium siding from a stock left in storage by his father, the late Morrison Bezzle Senior, in the late 1960s.

Bezzle’s defence lawyer, Dickie Shearman QC, told the court his client was not guilty of any offence and moved to have the case thrown out on the grounds that the lead Crown Prosecutors who had brought charges against his client were all QCs.

“Being Queen’s Counsel means they have a vested interest in a case involving charges, spurious though they may be, relating to Her Majesty,” Mr Shearman argued.

Justice Wilby De Nyed described the argument as “novel but with some merit” and declared an adjournment until he could form an opinion on whether the trial should continue.

Outside the court Bezzle (main picture) said he was hopeful that all charges would be scrapped but he and his legal adviser had other arguments to present if they didn’t.

“The prosecution and the judge shouldn’t forget I know where they live, and where their kids go to school,” he told waiting reporters who also questioned Mr Shearman about his own status as a QC.

He explained he had not taken silk but was simply declaring his rightful legal status “as a Queensland citizen”.