Former Attorney-General Brad Hazzard.
Former Attorney-General Brad Hazzard.

Witness backs Hazzard’s claims over Cunneen crash call

FORMER New South Wales Attorney-General Brad Hazzard may be vindicated after facing a barrage of questions in parliament about his phone call with a witness to the car crash which sparked an ICAC investigation into Margaret Cunneen.

Mr Hazzard said he could not recall whether he passed on the Deputy Crown Prosecutor's phone number and encouraged the witness to contact her.

But the secret witness has reportedly absolved him of any wrongdoing, telling News Limited she never felt pressured to call Ms Cunneen rather than ICAC investigators.

"Through all contact I was not guided or persuaded in any way in whether to contact any particular person or governing body in preference to the other," she was reported as saying.

Mr Hazzard's own memory was much hazier.

"I telephoned the person and she confirmed she had certain information as she alleged she was an eyewitness," he said in a statement.

"It is not appropriate that I detail the assertions made by the alleged witness.

"I recollect that the person wanted to give evidence that she felt would support Ms Cunneen and wanted to contact her.

"I recollect referring her to ICAC and indeed I spoke to ICAC to ensure that contact between ICAC and the witness was made.

"I don't recollect whether I gave the witness the details of how to contact Ms Cunneen or her lawyers but if I did so, it would have been entirely appropriate to ensure that the witness could give both the ICAC and Ms Cunneen's lawyers her alleged observations."

Ms Cunneen was accused of advising her son's girlfriend, Sophia Tilley, to feign chest pains to delay a breath test after she crashed her car.

A phone tap of a conversation involving Ms Cunneen describing the alleged advice was given to parliament, but Ms Cunneen has dismissed the conversation as a joke.

The investigation was abandoned after the High Court ruled the case fell outside ICAC's jurisdiction. -APN NEWSDESK



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