Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Facing sentence for fraud, Peter Slipper has become ‘a pathetic character’

Slipper
Former speaker Peter Slipper arrives at the ACT Magistrates Court. Picture: Gary Ramage Source: News Corp Australia
 
FORMER federal speaker Peter Slipper has been volunteering at Meals on Wheels and wants to practise law again once fraud charges against him are resolved, a court has heard. 

But illness meant he had also become a “pathetic character” since his fall from grace, his defence lawyer told a sentencing hearing at the ACT Magistrates Court.

In July, Slipper, 64, was found guilty of three counts of dishonesty for using taxpayer-funded cab charges to visit Canberra’s wine region in 2010. He is appealing the conviction, for which he faces up to five years in jail.

The former federal MP, who appeared in court today alongside his ex-wife Lyn, will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Prosecutors are pushing for a jail term, while Slipper’s lawyer argues there is no call for him to go to prison.
In final submissions today, his lawyer Kylie Weston-Scheuber argued Slipper’s otherwise good character, poor mental health and “additional punishment” suffered outside court should be considered in handing down sentence.

The court was previously told Slipper had a “major depressive disorder” and had attempted suicide.

“He has become somewhat of a pathetic character by virtue of the illness he has suffered and the way that has impacted on him,” Dr Weston-Scheuber said.

“There is simply no call for a custodial sentence in this case, it’s simply not within range in my submission.”
Dr Weston-Scheuber said Slipper he had lost his job, his relationship with his wife, family friendships, and representation and standing within the community.

She also revealed he planned to practise at the Queensland bar and tendered character references from a wide range of people, including Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon and former governor-general Peter Hollingworth.
The court heard Mr Slipper had started volunteering at Meals on Wheels one day a week.

Lionel Robberds QC, for the prosecution, said the seriousness of Slipper’s offences was “high” despite the taxi docket fraud amounting to $954.

“He was in a special position (and) the community demanded of him behaviour which did not involve defrauding the commonwealth,” Mr Robberds said.

“What occurred here was deliberate, planned dishonesty by an experienced parliamentarian.”

Mr Robberds said Slipper showed no signs of contrition, and argued the only appropriate sentence was imprisonment.

ACT Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker said she could not think of two more “diametrically opposed” submissions and told the court she needed time for “careful consideration”.

She will hand down Mr Slipper’s sentence at 1pm on Wednesday.

theaustralian.com.au 22 Sep 2014

Another example how much theft and corruption is in the hands of politicians, where only a handful of cases are brought into the limelight, to teach others to be subservient to the 'faceless men' of politics.

The masses go to jail for not paying a 'parking ticket' whereas the politicians escape jail only to live a life of luxury from taxpayer funded superannuation schemes.
 

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