In a unanimous judgement by the Court of Appeal on Thursday morning, the Commissioner for Consumer Protection succeeded in overturning a decision to allow the director of Westpoint Realty Pty Ltd, Norman Carey, to renew the certificate allowing him to be a real estate agent.
The judgement sets aside a previous State Administrative Tribunal ruling, which meant that Mr Carey would not lose his triennial certificate.
Western Australian legislation requires individuals and businesses wanting to operate as a real estate agent to hold a current triennial certificate, which must be renewed every three years.
In February 2012, the commissioner refused to renew Mr Carey’s triennial certificate on the basis that he was not a fit and proper person and of good character and repute. However, in December 2012, the State Administrative Tribunal reversed the commissioner’s decision and granted Mr Carey his triennial certificate.
Last Thursday's decision meant the commissioner's original decision had been reinstated and Mr Carey was not allowed to operate as a real estate agent in Western Australia.
In February 2011, Mr Carey was found guilty by the Perth Magistrates Court of five charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act in relation to the sale of a residential property development in Rivervale in 2005. That trial found that the company, via its agents, had misled purchasers of units in the Regent Apartment development by falsely informing them that there had been indefinite delays to the project due to planning issues. The agents caused purchasers to terminate their contracts of sale, then each of the units were resold at a higher price within a short period of time.
The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Mr Carey in January 2012 and the Court of Appeal dismissed a second appeal in August 2013, thereby upholding the Magistrates Court decision and conviction.