Debt collector Adam Kazal has been imprisoned for 18 months. Photo: SuppliedDebt collector and undischarged bankrupt Adam Kazal has been jailed for criminal contempt after a judge found he “deliberately and very publicly” defied court orders.
Although Kazal’s Twitter account claims that “revenge is sweet and not fattening” his pursuit of vengeance against a former business partner has seen him imprisoned for 18 months. Justice Steven Rares of the Federal Court found that Kazal, 50, had deliberately flouted court orders that ordered him to stop making defamatory comments about businessman Rodric David, who was once a business partner of the Kazal family.
For years the Kazal family has been waging a war of words against Mr David, son of grocery tycoon John David, over a soured business deal with the Kazal family who have substantial business interests in the Rocks.
Late last year Adam Kazal organised for a fleet of vans to drive around Sydney’s CBD and eastern suburbs. The vans were emblazoned with allegations that Mr David was a “corporate thief” who had stolen $180 million from the Kazal family.
Although he was ordered to stop, Justice Rares found that Kazal merely removed Mr David’s photo from the vans but the wording on the vehicles encouraged people to visit the Kazal family’s website where “all would be exposed”.
The website contained the allegations the court had ordered Kazal to stop publishing.
The website was run by Kazal’s brother Charif, who has previously been found to be corrupt by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Kazal also “wilfully” breached court orders from November 11 last year in seven tweets he later posted that contained copies of emails sent to this reporter, again directing people to the website.
One of the most serious of the contempts found by Justice Rares were threats Kazal made to Mr David and his solicitor Walter MacCallum, in an attempt to intimidate them into dropping ongoing legal action against the Kazals.
On October 28, 2016, Kazal sent an email to Mr David, who lives in Los Angeles, that read: “I will show you that I am not going to put up with the crap you tried to dish out to my brothers.”
Calling him “scum” and a “spineless thief”, Kazal threatened that his “teams” in LA and Sydney were going to expose Mr David.
Three days later, Kazal emailed Mr MacCallum calling him a “common thug and liar”. He also demanded the payment of $666,666.66.
“You want me to cease using the Van? Are you serious?” he wrote.
He also threatened Mr MacCallum that his photo would be on “the side of my growing fleet of vans”.
Former assistant commissioner Ken McKay was one of three retired police officers to provide a character reference for Kazal attesting to his law-abiding character and to the assistance Kazal had provided to the police due to his standing in the Lebanese community.
However, Justice Rares noted that Kazal’s failure for the last six years to provide a statement of affairs to his bankruptcy trustee, didn’t suggest he was a law-abiding citizen.
The court heard that despite being an undischarged bankrupt, Kazal and his wife Mirvat Hammoud, who does not work, live on the upper North Shore and send their four sons to private schools.
Kazal also had the means to run an extensive campaign against Mr David and another businessman, said the judge.
Justice Rares declined an offer by Oscar Kazal to pay any fine given to his brother.
Letting his brother pay “doesn’t look like much of a punishment to me”, said the judge, who also noted that a fine would not mean much to a person who had been “comfortable” to remain a bankrupt for the last six years.
Ms Hammoud sobbed loudly as her husband was led away by corrective services officers. His legal team announced their intention to file an appeal.