DPP says not enough evidence to prosecute former NSW MP Andrew Cornwell in wake of corruption probe
Former Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell and his wife Samantha Brookes arrive to give evidence at ICAC in August, 2016. (AAP: Paul Miller)
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has decided against prosecuting a former New South Wales politician referred to the DPP on the back of corruption inquiry.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) through its Operation Spicer looked at illegal political donations, ahead of the 2011 New South Wales election.
The ICAC then sought advice from the DPP in relation to potential prosecutions.
The DPP looked at the alleged actions of the former Liberal Member for the New South Wales seat of Charlestown, Andrew Cornwell.
The DPP has decided against taking action against former Charlestown MP, Andrew Cornwell. (AAP: Paul Miller)
Mr Cornwell was referred to the DPP for offences of allegedly giving false or misleading evidence contrary to section 87 of the ICAC Act 1988.
“Namely that in December 2010 he gave the painting know as Perrin’s Boat Shed to Hilton Grugeon as a Christmas present, and that Mr Grugeon subsequently contacted him and offered to buy the painting from Samantha Brooks for the sum of $10,120 ,” the ICAC alleged.
He strenuously denied the claim.
The DPP has now advised the ICAC that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr Cornwell.
It comes after the ICAC was advised there was not enough evidence to prosecute Mr Cornwell’s wife, Samantha Brooks.
She was referred to the DPP for the same alleged offences, but the ICAC accepted the DPP’s advice that there was not enough evidence to prosecute her.
Developer also avoids prosecution
After the same inquiry, developer Timothy Gunasinghe was referred to the DPP for the offence of allegedly giving false or misleading evidence.
“Namely that on 16 December 2010 he made out a cheque to the Free Enterprise Foundation believing that the Free Enterprise Foundation was a political lobby group,” the ICAC alleged.
The inquiry found that the Free Enterprise Foundation was used to channel donations to the NSW Liberal Party for its 2011 state election campaign.
The DPP has told the ICAC that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr Gunasinghe.
DPP yet to decide fate of four others
The ICAC is yet to get advice in relation to former NSW Resources and Energy Minister Chris Hatcher.
While the fate of Mr Cornwell and his wife, as well as, Mr Gunasinghe have been decided, the ICAC said it was still awaiting advice in relation to several other people who gave evidence implicated in the same inquiry.
Newcastle businessman William Saddington was referred for the offence of allegedly giving false or misleading .
Namely that Joshua Hodges allegedly told Mr Saddington that he was establishing a consultancy firm, and that as a result of that conversation Mr Saddington allegedly gave Mr Hodges $4,000 for the purpose of promoting Mr Hodges’ consultancy firm.
Liberal staffer Tomothy Koelma was also referred for offences of allegedly giving false or misleading evidence.
The ICAC alleged that he provided a service to Matthew Lusted of LA Commercial Pty Ltd in return for the payment of $5,000, that he provided a service to Iwan Sunito of Crown Consortium Pty Ltd in return for the payment of $2,200.
It also alleged that Mr Koelma provided advice to Eric Stammer and Scott Johnson of Yeramba Estates Pty Ltd in return for the payment of $5,000.
The DPP is yet to provide advice in relation to former Labor powerbroker Joe Tripodi. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)
Former Liberal minister Christopher Hartcher was referred for the offence of larceny, with respect to $4,000 allegedly withdrawn from the accounts of the company known as Mickey Tech, with the funds allegedly being intended as a donation to the NSW Liberal Party.
And the former Labor Minister Joseph Tripodi was referred to the DPP for the offence of misconduct in public office, with respect to the alleged provision of a confidential Treasury report to representatives of the private Newcastle company the Buildev Group Pty Ltd, without lawful authority to do so.
The Commission said it was awaiting the DPP’s decision on whether proceedings will be taken in relation to those persons.