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Tobacco case appeal decision disappointing

Friday 3 October, 2003

Health body Quit Victoria says it's disappointed by the High Court's decision not to hear an appeal in the case of lung cancer victim Rolah McCabe against tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT).

Executive Director Todd Harper says the decision is staggering in light of recent revelations from former tobacco industry employees.

'The key to this case has been the systematic destruction of thousands of documents by BAT, which Mrs McCabe’s lawyers contend denied her a fair trial. BAT has never at any stage denied that documents were destroyed.'

'The destruction of evidence in order to keep it out of court raises serious issues that go far beyond this case.'

'It shouldn’t be up to a battling family from Cranbourne to protect the administration of justice.'

'Over the last few months former senior BAT lawyers have confirmed on oath that the true intent behind the company’s co-called 'document retention policy was to make sure that damaging documents would not be used against the company in court.'

'This is evidence that hasn’t been before any court. These are serious allegations that go to the heart of the integrity of the legal system.'

'These allegations need to be fully investigated, and if appropriate, prosecuted by the proper authorities, such as the Attorney General, the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions.'

'Mrs McCabe’s children have bravely carried on her fight, despite BAT’s threat to pursue them for legal costs.'

'We commend Mrs McCabe’s children for their determination to fight for justice for their mother, especially when they’re faced with such a powerful and well-resourced adversary.'

Further information:
Zoe Furman
Media Communications Manager

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