Nearly 800 investors put money into Courtenay House scheme, including the Mayor of Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, Carmelo Pesce.
Mr Sheridan’s Oceanic Sun Group invested $10.2 million in Courtenay House. The NSW Supreme Court heard earlier this month that liquidators have disbursed about $7.5 million to Oceanic Sun during the course of the liquidation relating to its investment in one of Courtenay House’s products.
The court heard Grant Thorton believes Oceanic Sun may be entitled to receive a further distribution of between $344,621 and $614,874.
Mr Sheridan alleged that Grant Thornton and its lawyers at Colin Biggers Paisley committed “theft” and “trespass” by only returning $7.5 million of the $7.8 million it invested in one of Courtenay’s products. He also alleged the liquidators and their lawyers had held the remaining funds, of about $2.8 million, for over one year and earned interest on that money.
Oceanic Sun Group is not an incorporated entity and it is unclear whether Mr Sheridan is the sole investor in the group.
Mr Sheridan, who represented himself, attended court barefoot with a group of supporters. He prefers to be known by the title “Lord” though the origin of his title is unclear, the court noted.
Mr Sheridan had argued that his claim ought be heard in the Common Law division so that his claims of theft and trespass could be properly assessed. His claim, which began “I, a man”, used elements of other legal arguments used in court cases around the world which have been described as “pseudo-legal” arguments.
Despite his protest, Mr Sheridan’s case was heard in the Corporations Law division of the court. Mr Sheridan later filed a statement of claim to further his case which noted it was written “under protest & Duress Forced coerced against my Free will”. He also asked for the matter to be heard at the “Court of Sheridan”.
Justice Ashley Black dismissed Mr Sheridan’s claim last week after striking out his statement of claim.
“There is no utility in allowing the plaintiff a further opportunity to reformulate the statement of claim, because the matters alleged are not capable of giving rise to an arguable claim against the liquidators, Grant Thornton… or Colin Biggers Paisley as the solicitors acting for them”.
Justice Black added: “it is apparent that the plaintiff does not wish to reformulate his claim as civil proceedings in a manner compliant with the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules in any event.”
[Mr Lester] also alleged the liquidators and their lawyers had held the remaining funds, of about $2.8 million, for over one year and earned interest on that money.
The court also noted that Grant Thornton had won court approval to deduct its costs and expenses associated from its investigations from the money that was held in trust from investors including Oceanic Sun.
During the case Mr Sheridan had relied on a series of documents including a “Living Testimony in a Form of an Affidavit notice to agent is notice to principal, notice to principal is notice to agent” that was not sworn or affirmed.
“That document contains quotations from Coke’s Institutes, referred to several maxims of equity; contains a number of religious references and also refers to the Uniform Commercial Code of the United States of America, to shipwrecks, and, oddly, to the Western Australian Treasury Corporation and the International Monetary Fund, which had not previously had any role in these proceedings,” Justice Ashley Black said.
During the proceeding, Mr Sheridan also indicated he might take further action in the Federal Court in regards to the matter and questioned the rules and procedures of the Supreme Court of NSW.
“… You [Justice Black ] have no jurisdiction in the court. I’m not standing in your corporate court today and I’m standing you down. I’m retiring you [Justice Black] from this court. You’re operating in a fraud in the statutory court and I hereby stand you down and retire you,” Mr Sheridan told the court during proceedings.
Justice Black will make a decision on costs and whether an order should be made restraining Mr Sheridan from commencing or continuing any other proceedings in respect to the matters raised.
The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald have been unable to make contact with Mr Sheridan.
Sarah Danckert is a business reporter.