How the ‘F’ word determined a court case

Ross Greenwood gives a hilarious classification of events that happened in The Federal Court today after it was found Westpac engaged in unconscionable conduct by trying to rig the bill swap rate in 2010.

But at the centre of the case is the interpretation of a choice word.

Unbelievably, the case came down to the interpretation of the ‘f word’ by Westpac trader, Colin ‘The Rat’ Roden.

Ross Greenwood: At the center of the court case regarding Westpac and ASIC and whether Westpac traders had sought to manipulate the bank bill swap rate, is the word [beep] as Justice Jonathan Beach said in the federal court judgment today the [beep] word has been in many forms in English language.

It is in fact one of our most interpretive words as Justice Beach said in his ruling. The [beep] word and its use by the traders in the present context is a classic example. It’s been used as both a transitive and intransitive verb, that’s what he said.

Well, as a transitive verb that would be like John [beep] Mary. As an intransitive verb that would be like Mary was [beep] by John. It’s been in an active sense also a passive sense as Justice Beach said. He said, “In an active way I’d say that it would be, well I don’t give a [beep] or in a passive way it would be [beep] me.”

It’s been used in the past tense and the future tense. I am [beep] or I’ll be [beep]. It’s been used as adjective, that’s [beep] unbelievable. It’s been used a noun, including as a verbal noun, you are a silly [beep]. Even as an adverb, that is really [beep] interesting.

In this case, Justice Beach had to interpret the use of the word [beep] by the Westpac trader Colin Roden. Better known in the market as the Rat. The Rat Roden was recorded as he was trading, as they are. He said the he was going to [beep] the market.

Did that actually mean that he going to manipulate the market and that’s what Justice Beach had to decide. As it turns out that he ruled that Westpac tried to manipulate the bank bill swap rate market but failed.

In other words it [beep] up.



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