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I have a 6AM flight to Melbourne today - I won't be updating this website until Friday, 24 January

Craig Thomson and his unique handwriting

Here's Pia Akerman's story in The Australian today.

Handwriting expert to testify in Craig Thomson case

HEALTH Services Union whistleblower Kathy Jackson, who helped bring allegations against Craig Thomson to light, will take the stand to give evidence against the former Labor MP, along with a handwriting expert who is expected to confirm whether Mr Thomson wrote the name of an escort agency company on one of his expense claims.

Mr Thomson, who lost his seat at the last election after standing as an independent, is charged with using HSU funds during his time as national secretary to pay for personal benefits, including escorts, pornographic movies, brothel visits and flights for his then wife.

The criminal case against him, now being heard in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, was launched following a long campaign by Ms Jackson, who followed Mr Thomson in the role of HSU national boss.

Her former husband, Jeff Jackson, yesterday gave brief testimony about how union credit cards were expected to be used.

The former Victorian branch No 1 secretary said he was unaware of any formal policies but expected staff would use their "sensibility charter" when charging expenses.

Greg James QC, representing Mr Thomson, declined to cross examine Mr Jackson, prompting prosecutor Lesley Taylor SC to say she assumed the defence had "abandoned" claims factional warfare was a key driver in the allegations. "Kathy Jackson is still to come," Mr James replied.

Belinda Ord, who worked as a bookkeeper under Mr Thomson, told the court he usually gave a receipt or short memo when justifying expenses or cash withdrawals on his union-issued credit cards.

One memo from May 7, 2005, shows Mr Thomson claimed $770 for a "dinner function" in Sydney, where he was the only person identified as present.

"The above meeting has been claimed as a business expense," the memo says, with a handwritten note of "Internat Immobiliare" added to the page.

The court has previously heard International Immobiliare is the trading name of Boardroom Escorts in Sydney.

It is alleged Mr Thomson ordered an escort called Alina from that service on May 6, 2005, with $770 charged for one hour of sexual services.

Ms Ord told the court it was not her handwriting on the memo, and Ms Taylor said evidence from a handwriting expert would be called.

Continue reading at The Australian.

This is the memo.

Craig thomson internat immobilaire_001

And here are some examples of Craig Thomson's handwriting taken from his Register of Interests recorded here.

Thommo 1

Thommo 2

Thommo 3

Thommo 4

Thommo 5

Here's the extract from the memorandum before the court again

Internat immobilaire

Thommo 6