ACT News


ACT judge reserves decision in Peter Slipper appeal

A Commonwealth prosecutor says Peter Slipper's fraud conviction should stand because the former parliamentary speaker intentionally broke the law.

Slipper was sentenced to 300 hours community service and ordered to repay $954 after a magistrate found he had acted dishonestly and knowingly caused a risk of loss to the Commonwealth when he misused his travel entitlements to take three jaunts to Canberra region wineries in 2010.

The former parliamentary speaker launched the bid in the ACT Supreme Court and Justice John Burns heard the case over the past two days.

The judge reserved his decision on Thursday.

Wendy Abraham, QC, for the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions, told the Supreme Court on Thursday that Slipper's attempts to pass the fraud off as an accident were false.

Slipper's lawyers had earlier argued that Slipper should have been allowed to follow the normal process and repay the $954 in expenses, like many other politicians who have made incorrect claims.


But Ms Abraham said Slipper's case was a "different kettle of fish".

The silk argued Slipper had not accidentally claimed the expenses, and knew he had not been entitled to the travel.

Ms Abraham said he intentionally fraudulently filled out the cab charges in order to avoid detection.

"If he's committed a criminal offence, he's committed a criminal offence," Ms Abraham said.

But Slipper's lawyer, Kylie Weston-Scheuber, said prosecutors had not proven there had been a lack of entitlement for the travel, nor that he had not conducted parliamentary business at the time.

On Wednesday, Ms Weston-Scheuber argued the magistrate had incorrectly approached the reasoning exercise in deciding the guilt of her client.

The barrister told the court that the magistrate had incorrectly assumed that Slipper had intentionally filled out the travel documents incorrectly and knew he would cause a loss to the Commonwealth.

But Ms Weston-Scheuber said her client was known to accidently fill in cab charges incorrectly and could have done so on this occasion for reasons other than to cheat his entitlements.