Thomson: 'I've done no wrong-doing'
Federal MP Craig Thomson has been arrested and charged with 149 fraud offences. He says he will be 'vigorously defending these charges'.PT0M0S 620 349
Craig Thomson was stripped naked and searched by court officers on the NSW Central Coast in an attempt to intimidate him, the embattled federal MP’s lawyer says.
Chris McArdle, who is representing Mr Thomson in his fight against 150 fraud offences, made the claim on Thursday night.
He said Mr Thomson, 48, was strip searched by two court officers after being arrested via a warrant from Victoria Police about 1.00pm on Thursday at his electorate office at Tuggerah.
"Absolutely extraordinary intimidation of an innocent man" ... the lawyer of Craig Thomson claims two court officers strip searched his client. Photo: Mick Tsikas
''These two goons put on rubber gloves, one stood in front of him, one stood behind him, and they said 'take off your shirt','' Mr McArdle told Network Ten.
''They examined his shirt to see if there were any molotov cocktails.
''He had to take all of his clothes off and stand naked in front of these two galoots who then took him into the court and sat each side of him.''
Mr McArdle described the treatment of his client as ''absolutely extraordinary intimidation of an innocent man''.
He told ABC TV on Friday that he still hadn't seen all the charges against his client and would get them from Mr Thomson this morning.
He said that one of the charges related to making a claim on his expenses for buying an ice-cream.
Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said that strip searches were a standard procedure for people coming into custody and that there were no reports of any use of force against Mr Thomson.
''Every person who comes into Corrective Services custody is subject to a strip search to locate contraband including drugs, mobile phones and other banned items,'' he said on Friday.
''This is for the safety and security of staff and most of all, for the inmates themselves, to prevent incidents of self harm. Every person is treated the same. Mr Thomson would not have been touched during the search and there is no report of any use of force involving Mr Thomson.''
Labor frontbencher Tony Burke said on Friday that he would not comment on the police aspect of the Thomson matter.
''It's an awful story, just awful,'' he told ABC Radio.
''You can't look at it in any way other than seeing it as an awful story.''
Workplace Minister Bill Shorten told Fairfax Radio on Friday that the Thomson matter was ''separate'' to the government. ''It's going to take its path in the courts''.
''Trying to link this to the government would be like us trying to link Liberal MPs who'd been charged and say, well that's the whole Liberal Party. I don't see the correlation,'' he said.
In the same interview, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey hit back saying the matter was very different to other MPs who had been charged, because it involved a union and workers' money. ''That's why we've been raising it in parliament,'' he said.
Mr Hockey said that while Fair Work had investigated the issue, it had taken years: ''it was like dragging teeth out of a crocodile.''
The former Labor member represented himself during a brief bail application in local court that police did not oppose.
Outside court, he made a brief statement and did not take questions even though it went ‘‘against the grain’’ as a politician.
Court documents state the alleged offences occurred between February 2003 and April 2008.
Fair Work Australia's civil case against Mr Thomson has been adjourned and will likely be stayed until the completion of criminal charges. On Friday morning, Federal Court Justice Christopher Jessup adjourned the matter until March 1. The adjournment is until the court can find out more information about criminal charges filed against the MP.
Mr Thomson’s matter will come before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday.