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Tuesday 20 December 2022

22-369MR Criminal proceedings against CBA dismissed due to limitation period

Criminal proceedings against Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) have been dismissed due to the underlying criminal charges being statute barred.  

CBA had previously pleaded guilty to 30 criminal charges of making false or misleading representations to customers when selling consumer credit insurance, contrary to ss12GB(1) and 12DB(1)(e) of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) (the ASIC Act) (21-286MR). The conduct occurred between 2011 and 2015 and the proceedings were filed in 2021. 

On 28 November 2022, in respect of a separate matter, the Full Court of the Federal Court found that the effect of s12GB(6) of the ASIC Act is to create a limitation period requiring proceedings for an offence against s12GB(1) of the ASIC Act to be commenced within three years after the commission of the offence (see 21-249MR editor’s notes 1-5). The effect of this decision was to render the charges against the CBA invalid as they were statute barred. 

On 14 December 2022, the Federal Court made orders by consent dismissing the proceedings against CBA and that each party bear its own costs.  

The matter was being prosecuted by the CDPP following an investigation and referral by ASIC.