The Corica’s

With a litigation history that rivals that of vexatious litigant Wayne Glew, the Corica’s have been involved in at least 17 failed cases in which various flawed contentions were submitted. Although many of the following matters ran concurrently and on the same subject, I have divided them into their particular series as:

  • (1) Corica v Smith
  • (2) Corica v Shire of Mundaring
  • (3) Corica v Throssell

The following is a list of the Grounds of Appeal in Corica v Throssell [2017] WASCA 209 for an example of the type of submissions made:

(1) Corica v Smith

Salvatore and Marilyn Corica were the registered proprietors of numbers 8 and 10 Marloo Road, Greenmount.  Elaine and Alan Smith the registered proprietors of 6 Gabo Road, Greenmount.  They share a common boundary and are in dispute about the fencing of this common boundary. That dispute found its way to the Midland Magistrates Court. In May 2012, the Coricas filed an application in the Supreme Court which was treated as an application to transfer Midland Magistrates Court action 699 of 2012 to the Supreme Court.  That application was refused by Master Sanderson in Corica v Smith [2012] WASC 327. The Master ordered the Coricas to pay the Smiths costs on a full indemnity basis, including reserved costs.  These costs were taxed at $4,767.27 on 27 February 2014 and a certificate of taxation issued the next day (the Costs Judgment).

The Coricas then appealed the decision of Master Sanderson to the Court of Appeal in Corica v Smith [2013] WASCA 226. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on the basis that none of the grounds of appeal had any reasonable prospect of success.  The Court of Appeal ordered the Corica’s pay the Smiths’ costs of the appeal and all incidental and related costs to be taxed.  These costs were also taxed on 25 January 2014 and were allowed in the amount of $12,417.46.  A certificate of taxation was issued the next day (the Appeal Costs Judgment).

In July 2014, the Smiths applied for and were granted a property seizure and sale order (PSSO) under the Civil Judgments Enforcement Act 2004 (WA) (CJEA) in relation to the land at 8 Marloo Road for each of the Costs Judgment and the Appeal Costs Judgment. On 28 January 2015, Salvatore Corica (on behalf of himself and his wife) filed applications pursuant to the CJEA, seeking orders to suspend the enforcement of the Costs Judgment and the Appeal Costs Judgment. He filed an affidavit in support of each application dated 27 January 2015. In both the application and the appeal Salvatore Corica (on behalf of himself and his wife) also filed an application seeking orders that the two PSSOs be set aside.

In Corica v Smith [No 2] [2015] WASC 155, the essence of Salvatore Corica’s position is that the PSSO should not be enforced as the Constitution of the State of Western Australia is unlawful and the State has no power to enact legislation; therefore, the CJEA is unlawful and the PSSOs issued pursuant to that Act are also unlawful.  The Coricas’ primary argument is that the Parliament of this State has no power to enact legislation. Salvatore Corica made a number of other arguments which go to the validity underlying decisions.  One of those arguments is that the decision is not valid because it was not made by a jury as required under the Commonwealth Constitution.  Another was that he is not able to pay the debt as it is only lawful to pay currency up to $20. The acting master found that no ‘special circumstances’, within the meaning of section 15 of the Civil Judgments Enforcement Act, had been made out.  He also found no grounds had been established upon which the property (seizure and sale) order might be set aside.  The acting master rejected the appellants’ argument about the legislative power of the State, pointing out that arguments to the same effect had been rejected by this court on numerous occasions.

The appellants applied for review of that decision in Corica v Smith [No 2] [2015] WASCA 117. In the course of what were, with respect, largely incomprehensible submissions put by the appellants there appeared to be some inchoate challenge to the jurisdiction of the acting master. In oral submissions, it appeared to be put on the basis that the acting master was not a judicial officer but in the nature of an employee of the court, a submission that is clearly wrong. Again, the appellants failed to establish any grounds for the suspension of enforcement of the costs judgment or the setting aside of the property (seizure and sale) order.

The appellants appealed from that decision in Corica v Smith [2015] WASCA 209. The substance of the grounds appears to be, first, that the master did not have jurisdiction to deal with the appellants’ application to transfer the proceedings in the Midland Magistrates Court to the Supreme Court and, secondly, that he was biased and denied the appellants procedural fairness. The master is alleged to have lacked jurisdiction because, it is said, he has no ‘extra-judicial powers’ but can act only at the direction of a judge. The basis of the allegations that the master was biased and that the appellants were denied procedural fairness is impossible to discern. Based on the contention that the master had no jurisdiction to determine the application, the appellants argued that the decision of the master, including the order as to the cost of the application, was void and the acting master could not make an order which had the effect of permitting the enforcement of the master’s void order. Nothing that has been put before the court suggested the appellants have, or could have, any reasonable prospects of success on the appeal. The application was misconceived.

(2) Corica v Shire Of Mundaring

Offences arose out of work undertaken by the appellants on two adjoining properties in Greenmount. The street addresses of the properties are 8 and 10 Marloo Road. The first appellant is the registered proprietor of 10 Marloo Road and she and the second appellant are the registered proprietors of 8 Marloo Road. There is no building on 8 Marloo Road. There is a single storey house and an outhouse or studio of brick construction along with a garden and lawn on 10 Marloo Road. The offences constituted by failures to comply with directions given under the Planning and Development Act 2005 (see section 214(7) of that Act) relate to landscaping or earthworks undertaken on the north-western side of the properties along the boundary with the neighbouring property on Gabo Road. The respondent gave the appellants directions pursuant to section 214(3) of the PDA to remove fill and restore the land to an approved condition and they failed to do so.

The offences constituted by contraventions of a local planning scheme (contrary to section 218(a) of the PDA) concern the storage on 8 Marloo Road of assorted building materials, a large pile of limestone and uncut rough blocks of limestone or rock, brick pavers and blocks on pallets or crates. The use of residential land in that manner is prohibited by the respondent’s Town Planning Scheme No 3. The offences under the Building Act arise out of the construction of the brick outhouse on 10 Marloo Road. The outhouse was built without a valid building licence, contrary to section 9 of the Building Act.

The magistrate gave ex tempore reasons for the fines he imposed. In doing so, the magistrate referred to authorities concerning the penalties imposed for breaches of the Building Act and the PDA. The magistrate also referred to the need for specific deterrence. This arose because the second appellant had pleaded guilty to a charge under section 214(7) of the PDA on an earlier occasion in respect of which he was fined a total of $21,500.

In Corica v Shire Of Mundaring [2016] WASC 356  the court found the grounds of appeal were largely unintelligible and difficult to understand.

  • 1. Civil Judgment Enforcement Act 2004 is in violation of Section 29 of the Magna Carta which applies.
  • 2. Our names are Salvatore and Marilyn Kaye Corica.
  • 3. We are of male and female gender and flesh and blood living souls.
  • 4. We recognize that you people are flesh and blood living souls of the male and female gender.
  • 5. YOU people of this Court are not Gender Neutral as you claim.
  • 6. We are not subject to State Acts and Statue [sic] as you are being a Flesh and Blood living soul and are subject to Common Law under the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution 1901.

The appellants filed further written submissions with the grounds of appeal, the court also found them unintelligible and nonsensical. They included a complaint that the appellants’ names in the relevant prosecution notices do not match their birth certificates because on the prosecution notices the appellants’ last name is in capitals and underlined, an assertion that there was no contract between the appellants and the respondent under which a debt could arise, and a claim that various pieces of legislation relevant to these proceedings are invalid because they have never been passed by the Parliament or received the Royal Assent. At various points during their trial and in the course of the application for leave to appeal the appellants made submissions to the following effect:

  • (1) that various entities, including the respondent, the respondent’s solicitors, this Court and the State of Western Australia, are ‘trading corporations’ within the meaning of s 51(xx) of the Commonwealth Constitution, which was said to have various consequences for the validity or efficacy of the proceedings against the appellants; and
  • (2) that the Magistrates Court had no jurisdiction to hear the trial and this Court had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

The court noted:

“These submissions are misconceived and wrong for reasons I will explain shortly. Apart from the flaws of such submissions as a matter of legal principle, submissions of a similar kind have already been rejected by this Court and by the Court of Appeal on numerous occasions: see, for example, Palmer v City of Gosnells [2014] WASCA 102 and the authorities therein cited. It is unfortunate that some litigants in this Court, and especially self-represented persons, continue to be seduced by these arguments and to run the risk of costs orders being made against them by repeating the arguments in litigation when they are doomed to failure. It is unnecessary to enter into the question whether any of the entities to which the appellants referred are trading corporations within the meaning of s 51(xx) of the Constitution. Even if they were, that fact would have no consequences in the context of these proceedings.”

In Corica v Shire of Mundaring [2016] WASC 356 (S) the respondent applied for an order that the appellants pay its costs of the application for leave to appeal. The appellants opposed this order and the court gave them leave to file and serve written submissions to enable them to develop their argument that they should not be liable for the respondent’s costs, and gave the respondent leave to file responsive submissions. On 21 November 2016 the appellants filed submissions extending over some 16 pages, which did not contain a cogent reasoned argument as to why the appellants should not pay the respondents’ costs of the application for leave to appeal. The submissions challenged the standing of the respondents to bring the proceedings and repeated a number of arguments that had been advanced by the appellants in their application for leave to appeal. The submissions concluded with a list of the ‘orders sought’ by the appellants. These included orders that:

  • the ‘Company’s [sic] known as be deregistered immediately:
  • 1 Attorney General ABN 70 598 519 443
  • 2 Supreme Court of Western Australia ABN 70 598 519 443
  • 3 District Court of Western Australia ABN 70 598 519 443
  • 4 Magistrates Court of Western Australia ABN 70 598 519 443
  • 5 Fines Enforcement Registry ABN 70 598 519 443
  • 6 Shire of Mundaring ABN 20 431 487 930
  • 7 The Shire of Mundaring’s CEO Jonathon Throssell be charged with fraudulently representing himself as a judicial official contrary to chapter 111 of the Constitution 1901
  • 8 that Mr Peter Gillett, the lawyer acting for the prosecutor, be charged with fraudulently representing himself as a judicial official contrary to chapter 111 of the Constitution 1901
  • 9 the Shire of Mundaring produce proof of their authority under the Commonwealth legislation and Commonwealth laws that binds them and the real proper living entity
  • 10 that the Shire of Mundaring produce the CONTRACT entered into by both parties
  • 11 that the Shire of Mundaring produce proof of its interests in the cause of action in the proceedings to bring the jurisdiction of the magistrate and the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to prosecute these proceedings. 

Under the heading ‘Costs’ the appellants sought payment of the sum of $2 million to each of them as compensation for hardship suffered by them.

  • Compensation be Paid to the Accused Proper Living Entities in the sum of Two Million to Each Accused and any other amount this honourable court deems necessary to relation to the hardship to the normal enjoyment of Proper and Disruption of life caused by the dishonourable unconscionable deception conduct by the Respondent
  • That Mr Peter Gillett and Mr Jonathon Throssell pay all the Costs in relation to the matter on an indemnity basis in the capacity as proper living entity’s [sic].

In Corica v Shire of Mundaring [2017] WASCA 42 the appellants sought to appeal against the primary judge’s decision. The grounds of appeal again challenged the authority of State courts and local governments to exercise their functions. The leave to appeal was refused and the appeal dismissed.

In Corica v Shire of Mundaring [2017] WASC 163 a number of other contentions were raised, including that the court had no authority to have entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of the first‑named appellant, Salvatore Corica, when he refused to plead when he had been first required to do so at a hearing on 30 November 2015, and that the Shire had failed to produce certified copies of various statutes.  The application then lists a further 36 grounds of appeal, which were of the same nature as the earlier grounds, and the court found that observations made in respect of the earlier grounds apply with equal force to them.

In Corica v Shire of Mundaring [No 2] [2017] WASCA 212 an application made by the appellants filed on 5 September 2017 to adjourn the hearing of the next matters listed for 14 September 2017. The application was dismissed.

In Corica v Shire of Mundaring [2017] WASCA 211 the appellants sought leave to appeal against decisions made by Tottle J on 29 May 2017, relying on the same 20 grounds of appeal relied upon in the case  For the reasons given in that case, none of the proposed grounds of appeal had a reasonable prospect of succeeding. Further, the court noted:

“The appellants have filed an application in the appeal which, in effect, alleges that the Shire of Mundaring has committed offences against the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth). The application is supported by an affidavit sworn by Mr Corica on 7 September 2017. The contents of the affidavit are frivolous, scandalous and vexatious. Moreover, this court has no jurisdiction to make the orders sought.”

In Salvatore Corica and Anor v Shire Of Mundaring [2017] HCASL 263 the appellants applied to the High Court for an extension of time to allow the application to proceed, which the court found was futile.

A year later, in Corica and Anor v Shire Of Mundaring [2018] HCASL 292 the applicants again sought an extension of time in which to apply for special leave to appeal and again the court found it would be futile to grant an extension.

(3) Corica v Throssell

Jonathon Throssell is Chief Executive Officer of the Shire of Mundaring. As noted in Corica v Shire Of Mundaring [2016] WASC 356, the appellant earlier pled guilty to failing to comply with a direction given under the Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA) section 214(3) requiring him to remove landfill. The guilty plea was entered on 17 November 2011, and he was convicted on 12 April 2012. From that conviction and that order, the appellant sought an appeal in Corica v Throssell [2012] WASC 393 where it was noted that leading up to the trial, the appellant filed various applications containing submissions such as:

  • “I, Salvatore Corica say that I made a plea in the above matter in error as the name so-mentioned on the prosecution notice is not my name and that my legal representative failed to act under my instructions.
  • Set aside the sentencing in this matter due to mitigating circumstances in that two other matters in the defence of this matter need to be considered and that a guilty plea entered by the accused due to undue influence by the accused’s lawyer.
  • No criminal charges can be commenced against a natural sovereign subject who owns land under fee simple freehold land alienated by the Crown.
  • The charges brought before this Court are only hearsay as no one from the Shire of Mundaring that is the CEO Mr Jonathon Throssell is employed by the shire of Mundaring and is a natural person.
  • Your Honour, Magistrate Roth should you proceed with this action and you wish to find against me I would bring it to your attention that you would be in contempt of The High Court and its rulings as they are binding on all Courts, Judges and the people.”

In respect of the appeal against conviction, his Honour found that the magistrate erred in concluding that he had no power to set aside the pleas of guilty.  However, having regard to the magistrate’s findings concerning the entry of the plea of guilty there was no basis to set it aside. In respect of the appeal against sentence, his Honour rejected the appellant’s claim that the magistrate failed to take into account mitigating factors and concluded that the fine and total daily penalty were not manifestly excessive.

The appellant filed a number of appeals in 2017, and the proposed Corica v Throssell appeal was set to be heard on 14 September 2017. He sought to have the matter adjourned but the application was dismissed in Corica v Throssell [No 2] [2017] WASCA 210.

Although filed grossly out of time, the appellant sought leave to appeal in various applications, one being against the decision made by McKechnie J on 21 September 2012, which was heard in Corica v Throssell [2017] WASCA 209 CACR 64 of 2017 was filed approximately 4 years 6 months out of time, while CACR 124 of 2017 and CACR 125 of 2017 were filed approximately 4 years 9 months out of time.  Extensions of time were required in each case.  By any standard, the delay was gross.  Where there has been a lengthy delay, the court requires exceptional circumstances to be shown before granting an extension of time for leave to appeal, unless it can be shown that there will be a miscarriage of justice if an extension is not granted.

The proposed grounds of appeal in each case were identical. Insofar as the grounds and the arguments in support of them were comprehensible, they did not challenge the correctness of McKechnie J’s or the magistrate’s reasons for decision.  Instead they challenged the authority of the respondent, his employer, the Magistrates Court, the General Division of the Supreme Court and this court to exercise their functions. Other proposed grounds were really nothing more than scandalous and unfounded allegations of criminal conduct against the respondent and the Shire of Mundaring, their lawyers and the courts in this State.  Still other proposed grounds of appeal sought to ventilate eccentric and irrational constitutional theories and theories about standing which the court has rejected in other decisions.

In Corica v Throssell Corica v Throssell Corica v Throssell [2018] HCASL 291 the appellants sought an extension of time in which to apply for special leave to appeal from the High Court, but identically to Corica and Anor v Shire Of Mundaring [2018] HCASL 292, the court found it would be futile to grant the extensions of time.