More on the Labor/Union complex in its efforts to avoid the delivery of justice to HSU members
Friday, 31 January 2014
It's very difficult to find evidence of anything the Labor/Union movement has done to deliver justice for Health Services Union members.
Labor et al spent plenty of money on legal bills arising from Thomson's alleged frauds on the HSU. But Labor's money went to save Thomson's backside rather than to assist authorities in prosecuting him.
One official versus thousands of members. Sorry members, the one official is more important - you lose.
Here's StephenJ with some thoughts on the way that Thomson related charges have been framed.
This is a synopsis of reports at the time that Thomson's defence team argued the matter should not proceed to a County Court trial before a jury, rather that Magistrate Rocs should conduct a summary hearing.
FORMER Labor MP Craig Thomson will avoid facing a jury on charges of misappropriating union funds to pay for perks including adult movies and escort services, after his lawyer stated there was likely to be little debate about the facts of the case.
Mr Thomson, who is running for re-election in his NSW federal seat of Dobell as an independent, today won his application to have the 173 charges heard by a Melbourne magistrate instead of proceeding to a judge and jury.
Making the application, Mr Thomson's barrister Greg James QC said it was "very likely" there would be no issues about the facts of the expenditure, and the case instead related to whether Mr Thomson had authority for the spending as HSU national secretary.
"These are not complex charges," Mr James said.
Mr Thomson is accused of falsely representing that the HSU had authorised thousands of dollars of credit card spending, including payment for escorts and cash withdrawals from bank accounts, and using union credit cards to pay for pornographic movies at hotels.
He has repeatedly denied using Health Services Union credit cards to pay for escorts.
Prosecutor Kieran Gilligan told the Melbourne Magistrates Court that Mr Thomson had aggravated his alleged offending by attempting to "disguise" the spending, had breached the trust of members, and continued using the cards for personal purchases approximately 10 times after he was elected to parliament.
"It's alleged cash withdrawals were never approved as a legitimate union expense," he said.
"It was never part of the union policy that cash withdrawals could be made at all."
In a statement released after his court appearance, Mr Thomson said he was happy with magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg's decision to hear the case alone.
"The reason for the application was to have this matter heard as quickly as possible," he said.
"Despite some media reports, I am not making any admissions. But there is a threshold issue of who had authority to use the credit card, which must be heard first.
"This is an efficient use of court time and because of my limited personal resources, also an appropriate approach.
"If the Crown cannot prove its case on this issue, all other charges become null and void."
Mr Rozencwajg's decision to hear the case will mean a swifter conclusion and a lesser penalty if Mr Thomson is found guilty.
Mr Rozencwajg said he did not regard the case as a complex one, with or without a concession that Mr Thomson had used the credit cards as alleged.
Mr Thomson faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment if found guilty.
There have since that date been various hearings of varying lengths of time in which counsel for Thomson and the prosecution have tried to agree on the form of words that accurately sets out just what Thomson is admitting to.
What was simple and uncomplicated when the defence was keen to avoid a jury is now complicated and incapable of easy comprehension. Justice anyone?