CHALLENGE SUCCEEDS: Former MP Peter Slipper has had his conviction for fraud overturned.
CHALLENGE SUCCEEDS: Former MP Peter Slipper has had his conviction for fraud overturned. LUKAS COCHAAP

Peter Slipper victory may be appealed

THE taxpayer-funded fight to have former MP Peter Slipper convicted of fraud may not be over.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution told the Daily yesterday's judgment to overturn the former Member for Fisher and Speaker's conviction by ACT Supreme Court Justice John Burns was still being considered.

"Any appeal would be to the Full Court of Appeal of the ACT," the DPP's media unit advised.

The Australian Federal Police was also continuing its investigation of Mal Brough - the man who replaced Mr Slipper and was accused of helping mastermind his downfall.

"As this process is ongoing, it is not appropriate for the AFP to comment further," a spokeswoman said.

Federal Labor MP for Moreton, Graham Perrett, who lodged an initial complaint with the AFP into how excerpts from Mr Slipper's diary had been leaked, was pleased with the court decision.

"It shows my concern about the way justice was meted out to Peter Slipper were valid," he said.

"It was one of the reasons I was writing to the AFP in the first place."

Mr Perrett didn't believe the Commonwealth would pursue the matter further and said there had been no discussion of yesterday's judgment in the corridors of Parliament in Canberra yesterday.

"All this time they were pursuing Peter Slipper on Cabcharge misuse and millions of dollars in legal fees has come to nought," Mr Perrett said.

He said Mr Slipper had been significantly punished.

"What I hear from my friends is he is gutted. His marriage ended, his political career is over and he is financially out of pocket.

"Hopefully (the judgment) will give him some sort of comfort. He went from the penthouse to the pavement in terms of political life."

Justice John Burns overturned Magistrate Lorraine Walker's decision of July 28, last year to find Mr Slipper guilty of dishonestly using about $1000 of Cabcharge vouchers to visit wineries in January, April and June 2010.

Justice Burns said he was satisfied "the convictions recorded by the Magistrate were unsafe and unsatisfactory" as the magistrate had not proved Mr Slipper had used vouchers for personal reasons.

Mr Brough declined to comment.

Mr Slipper could not be reached for comment.

The charges:

On January 2010, Mr Slipper and a staffer, Timothy Knapp, spent $337 of Cabcharge vouchers for travel between Parliament House to suburbs, suburbs to Parliament House, suburbs to suburbs and suburbs to suburbs.

However, hire car driver Gary Green testified Mr Slipper asked him to "drive them to the wineries" and they visited seven wineries, mostly for short period of less than 20 minutes.

On April 19, Mr Slipper and Mr Knapp used $375 cab charge to visit five other wineries and again these were described as "suburbs to suburbs" visits in his Cabcharge couchers.

On June 27, 2010, Mr Slipper used $362 cab charge vouchers for travel with his "staffer Inge-Jane Hall (Mr Slipper's ex-wife" to visit two other wineries, which was again claimed as suburb to suburbs to Parliament House or suburbs to suburbs costs.

Justice Burns found the Magistrate "was capable of raising. as a rational inference, the proposition that the appellant undertook each of the three journeys for purposes unrelated to parliamentary business.

"She may have been entitled to conclude that it was the most probable inference.

"The crucid question is, was it the only rational inference available ont eh evidence? In my estimation it was clearly not."



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