Embattled former flying instructor and training operator Glen Buckley accused three high-level CASA managers of misfeasance in his evidence to the senate inquiry into the general aviation industry on Friday.
Buckley, who once owned Australian Pilot Training Alliance, has been in a bitter dispute with CASA since the regulator varied the conditions of his Part 142 approval in 2018, which made his business no longer viable.
In evidence provided over an internet feed to a public hearing, Buckley leveled accusations of misfeasance at Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody, Executive Manager Legal and Regulatory Affairs Jonathon Aleck and Group Executive Manager – Aviation Graeme Crawford.
Buckley made the accusations in front of the public hearing chaired by Senator Susan McDonald, which also included senators Glenn Sterle and Rex Patrick.
"I, here in this forum, am lodging a formal allegation of misfeasance against Mr Shane Carmody, the CEO of CASA," Buckley stated without reservation. "I am also lodging, to both of you senators, formal allegations of misfeasance against Mr Jonathon Aleck ... and, finally, an allegation of misfeasance against Mr Graeme Crawford."
Buckley stated he had had legal advice on the matter of misfeasance before making the allegations and had done extensive research into the definitions of both misfeasance in office and negligent mis-statement.
Quoting a High Court source, Buckley said that misfeasance "requires an intentional, but invalid or unauthorised act to be committed by a public officer in the proported discharge of their public duties, which causes a loss to a person. It requires that the person committing the act did so deliberately."
CASA has declined to comment specifically on the allegations, although under questioning from Senator McDonald on Friday, Carmody said he rejected many of the allegations and accusations Buckley made against him and other CASA staff.
In his opening comments, Carmody issued counter-accusations against Buckley including assault of CASA staff.
"Mr Buckley has harrassed my staff and continues to do so, on PPRuNe and just about every other website," Carmody said whilst recognising the emotional argument, "he makes unsubstantiated allegations and I'm quite happy to deal with them. He has assaulted my staff, he has stalked my staff in the Melbourne office, and frankly, we've had enough of him.
"So the matter is with the ombudsman, and I'm very, very happy for the matter to stay with the ombudsman and get resolved. I will not accept the allegations that are made."
The Commonwealth Ombudsman reported in August on the first phase of the investigation, finding that there was no impediment to franchising flight training operations under the Franchise AOC Arrangements ruling made in 2006. That ruling refers to commercial operations under CAR 206, but in September 2014, flight training was removed from CAR 206.
CASA originally used the ruling as the basis for declaring the APTA model illegal.
Phase Two of the ombudsman's investigation will focus on the CASA action of serving a seven-day cease notice on APTA in October 2018 and CASA informing Buckley's new employer in August 2019 that his new role was "untenable" due to comments Buckley was making publicly.