Rinehart kids in court over royalties

John Hancock (right) and Bianca Rinehart arrive at WA’s Supreme Court on Monday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sharon Smith
John Hancock (right) and Bianca Rinehart arrive at WA’s Supreme Court on Monday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sharon Smith

John Hancock and Bianca Rinehart, the eldest children of mining magnate Gina Rinehart, have shown up to Western Australia’s Supreme Court in person as their lawyer begins his closing address.

The lengthy legal battle, which began in July, involves several parties claiming a share of iron ore mining royalties owned by Ms Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd.

Bianca Rinehart and John Hancock arrive at WA’s Supreme Court on Monday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sharon Smith
Bianca Rinehart and John Hancock arrive at WA’s Supreme Court on Monday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sharon Smith

One of those parties is a joint complaint made by John, 47, and his sister Bianca, 44, represented by Christopher Withers SC.

Bianca has appeared previously during Mr Wither’s opening remarks in the civil matter, but Monday was the first time John, who uses his grandfather Lang Hancock’s surname, appeared in person.

None of the parties involved, including Ms Rinehart or her children, are giving any evidence in person, although Ms Rinehart has also not made any submissions, unlike her children.

The eldest children of billionaire Gina Rinehart are represented by Christopher Withers SC (far left). Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sharon Smith
The eldest children of billionaire Gina Rinehart are represented by Christopher Withers SC (far left). Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sharon Smith

Mr Withers on Monday rejected claims made by Hancock’s lawyer, Noel Hutley SC, that John and Bianca’s entire case rested on the Jones v Dunkel inference legal mechanism.

It’s a legal rule that if a party chooses not to give evidence, then a court can, in certain circumstances, draw an inference that the evidence that person could have given must not have been able to help their case.

“My client’s making submissions about what the documents show … it’s not saying ‘you can draw this inference because Gina Rinehart hasn’t been called’,” Mr Withers told the court.

Gina Rinehart, and her company Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd, are involved in a civil matter over the carve-up of mining royalties from iron ore tenements in WA’s Pilbara region. Picture: Philip Gostelow / Bloomberg
Gina Rinehart, and her company Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd, are involved in a civil matter over the carve-up of mining royalties from iron ore tenements in WA’s Pilbara region. Picture: Philip Gostelow / Bloomberg

“My clients are the only party to these proceedings who have consistently presented a straightforward history of these tenements.”

John and Bianca are involved in the case because the mining tenements have at times been held in the name of the Hancock trust.

They have been fighting their mother in court over the last decade amid claims she defrauded them and their siblings, Hope and Ginia, of funds and assets in the Hancock family trust.

Mr Withers has until Thursday to wrap up his closing submissions.