Ron Sayers. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian.
Ron Sayers. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian.

A Supreme Court judge has discharged a second jury after it was unable to agree on whether Peter Bartlett and Ron Sayers were involved in a $7 million-plus tax fraud conspiracy.

A little over 10 months after another jury could not reach a verdict, a jury of nine women and three could not decide whether the millionaire contractors were in on a scam hatched by their advisers in 2002.

The failure to reach a verdict came after the jurors asked trial judge Eric Heenan to read out the entire evidence of an accounting consultant who attended a meeting where the scam was unveiled by tax scheme promoter Greg Dunn.

The consultant Geoff Hewitt had given seemingly conflicting evidence about how the scam creating a false interest bill for the 1998-99 financial year was explained to the meeting.

Dunn and self-confessed fraud conspirator Trevor Neil Thomson hatched the false interest scheme in 2002 to protect $50 million in tax schemes entered into Mr Bartlett and Mr Sayers.

The tax schemes were devised to slash the tax they paid on profits from the Bartlett-owned underground contracting company Barminco, in which Sayers had a secret 50 per cent stake.

However, some belated accounting work by Thomson in 2002 revealed a surprise $7 million profit for the 1998-99 that could have damaged the schemes for the following tax years.

More than 50 friends of family of the accused men were in court to watch Justice Heenan discharge the jury.

Dunn was convicted of conspiracy at last year's trial and jailed for seven years.

Thomson pleaded guilty in 2010 and received a reduced sentence after agreeing to cooperate with Federal authorities.

Peter Bartlett. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian.

The West Australian

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