ACT News

Peter Slipper appeals his fraud conviction

Former parliamentary speaker Peter Slipper will fight to overturn his conviction for fraud.

Slipper is due to be sentenced in the ACT Magistrates Court later this month on three counts of misusing parliamentary Cabcharge vouchers to tour Canberra-region wineries in 2010.

Peter Slipper, pictured arriving at the ACT Magistrates Court in July, will appeal his fraud conviction.
Peter Slipper, pictured arriving at the ACT Magistrates Court in July, will appeal his fraud conviction. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The maximum penalty is one-year jail and a $6,600 fine for each offence.

But Slipper's lawyers have appealed the conviction to the ACT Supreme Court.

In July, Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker found Slipper had acted dishonestly and knowingly caused a risk of loss to the Commonwealth when he misused his travel entitlements to take taxpayer funded trips to some of the Canberra region's most prestigious wineries.

During the ACT Magistrates Court hearing, the court heard the former federal member for Fisher racked up about $1000 worth of travel on government-issued Cabcharge vouchers on three dates in 2010.

The trips included visits to Murrumbateman wineries such as Clonakilla, Gallagher Wines, and lunchtime stops at Wily Trout Wines at Poachers Pantry.

Slipper pleaded not guilty to all three counts and argued he used his government allowance to pay for the trips as he had been on parliamentary business.

His legal team tried unsuccessfully on three separate occasions to have the charges permanently stayed and dropped.

Court documents, lodged with the court last month, said Slipper would appeal the guilty verdict on 13 grounds.

The grounds said the verdicts had been unsafe as the magistrate had drawn inferences of dishonesty not available on evidence, failed to have regard to procedures in place to repay monies claimed, erred in refusing to allow cross-examination of a Department of Finance official, and erred in finding evidence established beyond reasonable doubt that Slipper had travelled for "private purposes".

Slipper's lawyers said they would put further evidence before the court, in the form of two news reports published by Fairfax Media.

One report, from October 2013, outlines how Prime Minister Tony Abbott was permitted to repay expenses after claiming entitlements to attend Sophie Mirabella's wedding.

Court papers said Slipper sought to have the guilty verdict set aside and a finding of not guilty entered in relation to the three charges.

A directions hearing for the appeal has been listed for later this month.