- Why NSW Parliament must publish the Margaret Cunneen tapes
- Secret recording contradicts Cunneen's claim: sources
A decision on whether explosive phone taps involving crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen are made public could be taken as early as Monday amid moves by Labor members of a parliamentary committee to push for their release.
The secret recording by the Australian Crime Commission captures Ms Cunneen telling a tow truck driver she had sent a message to her son's girlfriend, who had been drinking alcohol, "to start having chest pains" after a car accident to delay a breath test.
It also reveals Ms Cunneen expressed the hope that the delay would mean an ambulance would be called and the woman, Sophia Tilley, would record a blood alcohol reading of zero once tested.
The recording prompted the Independent Commission Against Corruption to launch an investigation – later abandoned – into whether Ms Cunneen had tried to pervert the course of justice.
The parliamentary committee has sought legal advice about whether it can publicly release material gathered under the federal Telecommunications (Intercept and Access) Act after ICAC Commissioner tabled the audio and transcript on Thursday.
The legal advice is due to be delivered in time for a committee meeting on Monday afternoon.
Fairfax Media understands ALP members – Lynda Voltz, Tania Mihailuk, Ron Hoenig and Kathy Smith – are considering putting forward a motion at the meeting that the audio and transcript be publicly released.
On Thursday, when she tendered the transcript and audio, ICAC head Megan Latham urged the committee to publicly release them because they serve to "undermine the basis for the adverse findings" in a damning report on ICAC's investigation of Ms Cunneen by its inspector, David Levine.
Multiple sources have said the tone and content of the recording contradicts Ms Cunneen's public claim she was "joking" and that a reference to chest pains was about Ms Tilley's breast implants.
Ms Cunneen has previously told Fairfax Media that "I don't give a damn" if the tapes were released, but argued it would be fair for her to see their contents first as she had been denied access to them by the ICAC.
However, she has also warned there are "grave concerns about the legality of disseminating people's private telephone calls, especially in circumstances when the person has never even been given notice. I've never seen [the transcripts], nor have my lawyers."
The inquiry is being held after Mr Levine's December report accused ICAC of "unreasonable, unjust, [and] oppressive maladministration" in its pursuit of Ms Cunneen.
It followed the ICAC being forced to abandon its investigation after a successful challenge by Ms Cunneen to the High Court, which found the watchdog had exceeded its jurisdiction.
The NSW Solicitor-General later said no prosecution should be pursued. Ms Cunneen has always denied the allegations.