lgi.vic.gov.au
  • Case: Inspectorate v Chris Healy

    Local government area: Murrindindi Shire Council
    Venue: Melbourne County Court
    Judgement date: 21 October 2019

    Summary of facts

    As a Murrindindi councillor, Chris Healy had attempted to gain an advantage by making improper use of information regarding Murrindindi Shire’s proposed rating strategy. Mr Healy was privy to information about the tenderers for a rating strategy review, which he used in submissions to council and at a meeting of a local trader and tourism association to argue against a differential commercial rate of 125%. At the time, Mr Healy owned three commercial properties in Eildon. 

    Ruling

    Mr Healy was found guilty with four charges proven and one charge being dismissed. He was ordered to pay a $7500 fine and contribute $35,000 towards the prosecution legal costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Andrew McEwen

    Local government area: South Gippsland Shire Council
    Venue: Wonthaggi Magistrates Court
    Judgement date: 20 September 2019

    Summary of facts

    The Inspectorate charged Andrew McEwen with one count of misuse of position. alleging that, as a councillor at South Gippsland Shire, he provided a Tarwin Lower resident with information. At the time, the resident was involved in a proceeding against South Gippsland Shire Council in the Supreme Court. 

    Ruling

    McEwen received a 12 month good behaviour bond and no conviction. He was also ordered to pay a $1500 contribution to a community organisation and $15,000 towards prosecution legal costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v David Nunns

    Local government area: Moreland City Council
    Venue: Broadmeadows Magistrates Court
    Judgement date: 15 May 2019

    Summary of facts

    The Inspectorate alleged that David Nunns, a candidate in the 2016 Moreland Council elections, failed to declare, on his campaign donation return, a $3,000 gift from the Municipal Employees Union Fund.

    Ruling

    Nunns received a six month good behaviour bond and no conviction. He was also ordered to pay $1,500 towards prosecution legal costs.

    Case: Chief Municipal Inspector v John Zakula

    Local government area: South Gippsland Shire Council
    Venue: Supreme Court (Melbourne)
    Judgement date: 3 April 2019

    Summary of facts

    Tarwin Lower resident John Zakula appeared in Melbourne's Supreme Court in September 2018 after an application by the Chief Municipal Inspector into Mr Zakula's refusal to comply with notices in March 2018, which included the requirement that he appear and answer questions related to a current investigation.

    The notices were served as part of an investigation into the improper use of information from South Gippsland Shire Council.

    Ruling

    In a judgment handed down on 3 April, Justice Keogh found in favour of the plaintiff and made orders that Mr Zakula comply by 16 April 2019 with the original notices served on him. Mr Zakula was also ordered to pay legal costs.

  • Many of the cases prosecuted in 2018 related to electoral candidates allegedly failing to submit a campaign donation return.

    To comply with section 62 of the Local Government Act 1989, candidates must submit a campaign donation return and note any gifts or donations over $500, regardless of whether or not they are elected. Failing to submit a return can carry heavy court-imposed fines (up to a maximum 60 penalty units).

    Case: Inspectorate v Mark Johnston

    Local government area: Central Goldfields Shire Council
    Venue: Maryborough Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 12 December 2018

    Summary of facts

    Former Central Goldfields CEO Mark Johnston appeared in Maryborough Magistrates’ Court on five charges related to gaining financial advantage by deception. The prosecution tendered that, while the CEO, Mr Johnston had submitted 112 items on his corporate credit card that were falsely claimed as related to council business. At a mention in August 2018, Mr Johnston pleaded guilty to the five charges.

    Ruling

    Magistrate Megan Aumair found the charges proven and convicted Mr Johnston on all charges. He was ordered to pay $26,000 in fines and $10,000 towards prosecution legal costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Chris Healy

    Local government area: Murrindindi Shire Council
    Venue: Shepparton Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 10 October 2018

    Summary of facts

    Former Murrindindi councillor Chris Healy appeared in Shepparton Magistrates Court on five charges related to misuse of position. As a former councillor, on five separate occasions, Mr Healy had attempted to gain an advantage by making improper use of information, acquired while a councillor, regarding Murrindindi Shire’s proposed rating strategy.

    Ruling

    Magistrate John Murphy found all charges proven. Mr Healy was convicted and fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $20,000 in legal costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Cr Intaj Khan

    Local government area: Wyndham City Council
    Venue: Sunshine Magistrates’ Court and County Court
    Judgement date: 16 July 2018 and 14 September 2018

    Summary of facts

    Councillor Intaj Khan appeared in Sunshine Magistrates’ Court on 16 July on eight charges related to interest return disclosures. Cr Khan pleaded guilty to all charges.

    Ruling

    Magistrate Therese McCarthy found the charges proven and convicted and fined Cr Khan a total of $26,000, with $15,000 in legal costs. Cr Khan appealed the decision and was heard in the County Court on 14 September. The appeal was dropped partway through proceedings and all convictions and fines were upheld.

    Case: Inspectorate v David O'Brien

    Local government area: Moreland City Council
    Venue: Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 10 August 2018

    Summary of facts

    David O'Brien was a candidate in the 2016 Moreland City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline.

    Ruling

    Mr O'Brien was fined $100 and ordered to pay $2,500 in prosecution legal costs as well as submit a return within 14 days.

    Case: Inspectorate v Koby Bunney

    Local government area: Ballarat City Council
    Venue: Ballarat Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 19 July 2018

    Summary of facts

    Koby Bunney was a candidate in the 2016 Ballarat City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline.

    Ruling

    Mr Bunney was placed on an adjourned undertaking for 12 months (without conviction) and ordered to pay $1,000 in prosecution legal costs as well as submit a return within 14 days.

    Case: Inspectorate v Steven Hughes

    Local government area: Frankston City Council
    Venue: Frankston Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 20 June 2018 (appealed 7 September 2018)

    Summary of facts

    Steven Hughes was a candidate in the 2016 Frankston City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline.

    Ruling

    Mr Hughes was originally convicted and fined $1,000, ordered to pay $2,500 towards prosecution legal costs and submit a Campaign Donation Return. On appeal to the Melbourne County Court, the decision was overturned and Mr Hughes was given no conviction or fine and ordered to pay $500 in legal costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Lucas Goodier

    Local government area: Darebin City Council
    Venue: Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 4 June 2018

    Summary of facts

    Lucas Goodier was a candidate in the 2016 Darebin City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline.

    Ruling

    Mr Goodier was ordered to pay $500 towards prosecution legal costs and submit a Campaign Donation Return.

    Case: Inspectorate v John Burke

    Local government area: Bayside City Council
    Venue: Moorabbin Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 17 May 2018

    Summary of facts

    John Burke was a candidate in the 2016 Bayside City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. Mr Burke applied to have his matter referred to the criminal justice diversion program.

    Ruling

    The court agreed to the terms of the diversion and Mr Burke was required to make a donation of $200 to beyondblue; pay $500 towards prosecution legal costs; write a letter of apology to the CEO of Bayside City Council and to the Chief Municipal Inspector by 17 August 2018; and submit a Campaign Donation Return within 14 days.

    Case: Inspectorate v Michael Sixtus

    Local government area: Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
    Venue: Frankston Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 16 May 2018

    Summary of facts

    Michael Sixtus was a candidate in the 2016 Mornington Peninsula Shire Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline.

    Ruling

    Mr Sixtus pleaded guilty and was placed on an adjourned undertaking for 12 months (without conviction) and ordered to pay $1,500 to the Court Fund and $1,750 towards prosecution legal costs. In addition, an order was made for Mr Sixtus to submit a return within 7 days.

    Case: Inspectorate v Frank Lamattina

    Local government area: Casey Council
    Venue: Frankston Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 16 May 2018

    Summary of facts

    Frank Lamattina was a candidate in the 2016 Casey Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. 

    Ruling

    Mr Lamattina pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to submit a CDR to the CEO of Casey City Council. He was placed on an adjourned undertaking for 12 months (without conviction and ordered to pay $2,500 to the Court Fund and $1,750 towards prosecution legal costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Andrew Gibbs

    Local Government Area: Gannawarra Shire Council
    Venue: Kerang Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 26 April 2018

    Summary of facts

    Andrew Gibbs was a candidate in the 2016 Gannawarra Shire Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. Mr Gibbs requested to be placed on the diversion program after admitting his failure to submit a return.

    Ruling

    The court agree to place Mr Gibbs on the diversion program, and ordered him to submit his return, make a donation of $300 to the Cohuna CFA and pay prosecution legal costs of $1,000.

    Case: Inspectorate v Thomas Maher

    Local Government Area: Strathbogie Shire Council
    Venue: Benalla Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 24 April 2018

    Summary of facts

    Thomas Maher was a candidate in the 2016 Strathbogie Shire Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. As with other candidates prosecuted by the Inspectorate, Mr Maher had received emails and phone calls reminding him to submit a return and failed to respond.

    Ruling

    The court agreed to place Mr Maher on the diversion program, ordered him to submit his return, make a donation of $500 to a charitable organisation and pay $1,000 towards prosecution legal costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Richard Foster

    Local Government Area: Melbourne City Council
    Venue: Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 19 April 2018

    Summary of facts

    Mr Foster was charged with aiding or abetting the unlawful nomination by Ms Brooke Wandin during the 2016 elections. Resulting from charges related to this matter, Ms Wandin was placed without conditions on the diversion program in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 6 June 2017.

    Ruling

    The court recognised the seriousness of Mr Foster’s offending and placed him on a 12-month good behaviour bond with no conviction. Prosecution legal costs were awarded in an amount to be determined.

    Case: Inspectorate v Sahra Ashkir

    Local Government Area: Wyndham City Council
    Venue: Werribee Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 17 April 2018

    Summary of facts

    Sahra Ashkir was a candidate in the 2016 Wyndham City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. As with other candidates prosecuted by the Inspectorate, Ms Ashkir had received emails and phone calls reminding her to submit a return and failed to respond. She pleaded guilty to the charge.

    Ruling

    The court imposed a 12 month good behaviour bond and did not grant a conviction or fine.

    Case: Inspectorate v Wan Li Jiang

    Local Government Area: Wyndham City Council
    Venue: Werribee Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 17 April 2018

    Summary of facts

    Wan Li Jiang was a candidate in the 2016 Wyndham City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. As with other candidates prosecuted by the Inspectorate, Ms Jiang had received emails and phone calls reminding her to submit a return and failed to respond. She pleaded guilty to the charge.

    Ruling

    The court imposed a 12 month good behaviour bond and did not grant a conviction or fine.

    Case: Inspectorate v Helen Fanakopoulou

    Local Government Area: Wyndham City Council
    Venue: Werribee Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 20 March 2018

    Summary of facts

    Helen Fanakopoulou was a candidate in the 2016 Wyndham City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. Mrs Fanakopoulou, who stood as a candidate under her maiden name Simeonidis, had received emails and phone calls reminding her to submit a return and failed to respond appropriately.

    Ruling

    The court found the charge proven, ordering Mrs Fanakopoulou to pay a $1,500 fine and $1,000 in court costs and receive a conviction.

    Case: Inspectorate v Nick Nicolaou

    Local Government Area: Brimbank City Council
    Venue: Sunshine Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 5 March 2018

    Summary of facts

    Nick Nicolaou was a candidate in the 2016 Brimbank City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline.

    Ruling

    The court did not impose a conviction but ordered Mr Nicolaou to pay a fine of $550 and $1,000 towards prosecution legal costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Ha Dang Quach

    Local Government Area: Greater Dandenong City Council
    Venue: Dandenong Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 1 March 2018

    Summary of facts

    Ha Dang Quach was a candidate in the 2016 Greater Dandenong City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. The court took into account Mr Quach’s prior convictions in making a determination.

    Ruling

    The court convicted Mr Quach and ordered him to pay a $800 fine and $1,750 towards prosecution legal costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Faisal Najibi

    Local Government Area: Casey City Council
    Venue: Dandenong Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 1 March 2018

    Summary of facts

    Faisal Najibi was a candidate in the 2016 Casey City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline.

    Ruling

    The court imposed a 12 month good behaviour bond and ordered Mr Najibi to pay $1,000 towards prosecution legal costs.

  • Case: Inspectorate v Brooke Wandin

    Local Government Area: Melbourne City Council
    Venue: Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 6 June 2017

    Summary of facts

    Ms Wandin appeared for a diversion hearing on charges of unlawful nomination and false declaration. Ms Wandin was charged after the 2016 Melbourne City Council elections, in which it was alleged she falsely declared her eligibility to nominate as a councillor, despite not residing in the municipality in accordance with electoral regulations.

    Ruling

    Ms Wandin was granted a diversion with no criminal conviction recorded or fine imposed.

  • Case: Inspectorate v Chris Smith

    Local Government Area: Colac Otway Shire council
    Venue: Colac Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 18 December 2015

    Summary of facts

    Mr Smith pleaded not guilty to seven charges of conflict of interest and one charge of failure to submit an ordinary return under section 79 and 80A of the Local Government Act.

    Ruling

    All charges dismissed.

    Case: Inspectorate v Ian Robertson

    Local Government Area: Central Goldfields Shire Council
    Venue: Maryborough Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 12 May 2015

    Summary of facts

    Cr Robertson was charged under section 79 of the Local Government Act for failing to declare a conflict of interest. Cr Robertson was charged with allegedly voting on the 2012/13 Budget when he would have been aware of a potential conflict of interest related to his previous court costs being covered in a budget allocation.

    Ruling

    Cr Robertson pleaded guilty to the charge. Case proven with no conviction recorded and no fine imposed.

    Case: Inspectorate v Marleine Raffoul

    Local Government Area: Moreland City Council
    Venue: Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 29 January 2015

    Summary of facts

    Ms Raffoul was charged under section 59 of the Local Government Act. Candidate allegedly offered women free mammograms to women on "how to vote card" during the 2012 election.

    Ruling

    Magistrate was not satisfied that, on a point of law, the prosecution did not have a case to answer, although he found the case to be factually correct. Inspectorate ordered to pay costs.

  • Case: Inspectorate v Cr Graeme Pittock

    Local Government Area: Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
    Venue: Frankston Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 27 September 2014

    Summary of facts

    Mr Pittock was charged under section 79 of the Local Government Act for failing to declare a conflict of interest in three council meetings. The charges related to non-declaration of the conflict of interest at Council Meetings in 2012 on 19 March, 12 June and 18 June.

    Ruling

    Cr Pittock was found guilty and ordered to pay $4,000 and prosecution costs. No conviction was recorded.

    Case: Inspectorate v Paul Rumpf

    Local Government Area: Melton City Council
    Venue: Sunshine Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 31 March 2014

    Summary of facts

    Mr Rumpf pleaded not guilty to a charge under section 62 of the Local Government Act for failing to submit a campaign donation return disclosing all donations of $200 or above. Forms must be submitted to the council CEO within 60 days of the election date.

    Ruling

    The Magistrate indicated to Mr Rumpf that the offence is a strict liability offence and found the charge proven. Mr Rumpf was placed on a good behaviour bond for 12 months and was ordered to pay $500 in costs.

  • Case: Inspectorate v Shane Carson

    Local Government Area: Wodonga Rural City Council
    Venue: Wodonga Magistrates' Court
    Judgement date: 11 January 2013

    Summary of facts

    Mr Carson was charged under section 62 of the Local Government Act for failing to submit a campaign donation return disclosing all donations of $200 or above. The charge was proven on the basis that Mr Carson acknowledged that he received two reminder letters (one from the Inspectorate on 25/01/2013 warning of potential prosecution) but took no action to ascertain that his return was received by the CEO of Council.

    Ruling

    Mr Carson was released on an undertaking to provide his return personally to the CEO by1 February 2014 and ordered to pay costs of $6,302 by 1 December 2014.

    Case: Inspectorate v Grant Smith

    Local Government Area: Bass Coast Shire Council
    Venue: Wonthaggi Magistrates’ Court
    Judgement date: 8 November 2013

    Summary of facts

    Mr Smith was charged under section 62 of the Local Government Act for failing to submit a campaign donation return disclosing all donations of $200 or above. Forms must be submitted to the council CEO within 60 days of the election date. Mr Smith submitted his return dated 1 November 013 to the prosecutor. The Return was posted to Bass Coast Council on 15 November 2013.

    Ruling

    Mr Smith was fined $750 without conviction and ordered to pay costs of $1,000.

    Case: Inspectorate v Mike Tyler

    Local Government Area: Casey City Council
    Venue: Dandenong Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 22 October 2013

    Summary of facts

    Mr Tyler was charged with two breaches of the Local Government Act 1989 for allegedly failing to disclose a conflict of interest to the mayor in writing – as required under section 80B(2) of the Act - and to notify the council of the conflict of interest at the earliest possible ordinary council meeting.

    Ruling

    Mr Tyler received a 12 month good behaviour bond without conviction and was ordered to pay $1,000 to a charity and $9,000 in costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Perla Padayachee

    Local Government Area: Casey City Council
    Venue: Dandenong Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 27 August 2013

    Summary of facts

    Candidate failed to submit Campaign Donation Return within 60 days of the 2012 election.

    Ruling

    Without conviction issued a good behaviour bond for 12 months and ordered to pay $1,472 in costs.

    Case: inspectorate v Robert Hughes

    Local Government Area: Maroondah City Council
    Venue: Ringwood Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 15 August 2013

    Summary of facts

    Candidate failed to submit Campaign Donation Return within 60 days of the 2012 election.

    Ruling

    Convicted, fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $500 in costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Nicholas Angelowitsch

    Local Government Area: Wyndham City Council
    Venue: Werribee Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 13 August 2013

    Summary of facts

    Candidate failed to submit Campaign Donation Return within 60 days of the 2012 election.

    Ruling

    Without conviction fined $400 and ordered to pay $1,000 in costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Lehi Cerna-ortiz

    Local Government Area: Casey City Council
    Venue: Dandenong Magistrates' Court
    Judgment date: 1 August 2013

    Summary of facts

    Candidate failed to submit Campaign Donation Return within 60 days of the 2012 election.

    Ruling

    Without conviction fined $500 and ordered to pay $1,800 costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Roona Fazal

    Local Government Area: Casey City Council
    Venue: Dandenong Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 1 August 2013

    Summary of facts

    Candidate failed to submit Campaign Donation Return within 60 days of the 2012 election.

    Ruling

    Fined $500 without conviction.

    Case: Inspectorate v David Muscat

    Local Government Area: Manningham City Council
    Venue: Ringwood Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 31 July 2013

    Summary of facts

    Candidate allegedly nominated for Council despite having an earlier conviction which makes him ineligible to nominate for Council.

    Ruling

    Guilty of unlawful nomination (being a person who is not qualified to be a candidate or is not capable becoming a Councillor, submitted a nomination form contrary to section 52(1) of the Local Government Act 1989 (Act) ).

    Was fined $15,000 and required to pay prosecution costs of $9,900 (he was granted a stay of six months for payment).

    Case: Inspectorate v Lawry Borgelt

    Local Government Area: Moorabool Shire Council
    Venue: Bacchus Marsh Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 19 July 2013

    Summary of facts

    Candidate failed to submit Campaign Donation return within 60 days of the 2012 election.

    Ruling

    Convicted, fined $500 and ordered to pay $500 costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Mohamed Elrafihi

    Local Government Area: Moreland City Council
    Venue: Heidelberg Magistrates' Court
    Judgment date: 15 July 2013

    Summary of facts

    Candidate failed to submit Campaign Donation Return within 60 days of 2012 election.

    Ruling

    Fined $500 without conviction.

    Case: Inspectorate v Jocelyn Ouaida

    Local Government Area: Moreland City Council
    Venue: Heidelberg Magistrates' Court
    Judgment date: 15 July 2013

    Summary of facts

    Candidate failed to submit Campaign Donation Return within 60 days of 2012 election.

    Ruling

    Without conviction ordered to perform 20 hours of community work within six months and file Campaign Donation Return within 14 days.

    Case: Inspectorate v Jason Evans

    Local Government Area: Port Phillip City Council
    Venue: Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 2 July 2013

    Summary of facts

    Candidate failed to submit Campaign Donation Return within 60 days of the 2012 election.

    Ruling

    Fined without conviction $1,000 and ordered to pay $500 costs.

  • Case: Inspectorate v Cr Shirley Cornish

    Local Government Area: Moonee Valley City Council
    Venue: Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 21 December 2012

    Summary of facts

    Councillor Shirley Cornish pleaded guilty to charge of misuse of position by approving unauthorised payments and contract variations to former CEO, who is now subject to an investigation by Victoria Police.

    Ruling

    Pleaded guilty and received a 12 month Good Behaviour Bond and ordered to pay $8,000 in fines.

    Case: Inspectorate v Cr Paul Giuliano

    Local Government Area: Moonee Valley City Council
    Venue: Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 21 December 2012

    Summary of facts

    Councillor Paul Giuliano pleaded guilty to charge of misuse of position by approving unauthorised payments and contract variations to former CEO, who is now subject to an investigation by Victoria Police.

    Ruling

    Pleaded guilty and received a 12 month Good Behaviour Bond and ordered to pay $1,000 to the Court Fund and $5,000 in legal costs.

    Case: Inspectorate v Cr Ian Robertson

    Local Government Area: Central Goldfields Shire Council
    Venue: Maryborough Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 22 August 2012

    Summary of facts

    Councillor Ian Robertson was charged with two counts of breaching the conflict of interest provisions of the Local Government Act. The breaches related to his lobbying and support for a significant road upgrade and paving project that effectively serviced his rural property. Both charges were proven and Councillor Robertson found guilty with the Magistrate noting the seriousness of the matters and the intent of the laws to ensure the holders of public office do not seek to advantage themselves in the exercise of their role. Based on evidence of good character and community service, the Magistrate did not record a conviction against Councillor Robertson.

    Ruling

    Councillor Robertson was found guilty of two counts of conflict of interest and placed on a 12 month good behaviour bond. No conviction was recorded and he was ordered to pay a $4,000 donation to Maryborough Hospital and pay the prosecution costs of $20,000.

    Case: Inspectorate v Milvan Muto

    Local Government Area: Greater Shepparton City Council
    Venue: Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
    Judgment date: 21 August 2012

    Summary of facts

    The Inspectorate, through the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Community Development, sought an order from VCAT that Milvan Muto take a mandatory leave of absence (suspension) from the office of councillor.

    This was under the provision that he has been charged with the serious criminal offence of Blackmail by Victoria Police. In separate proceedings at VCAT the Inspectorate has also sought to have a finding of Gross Misconduct made against Mr Muto. The criminal Blackmail charges relate to witnesses in this separate matter.

    Ruling

    Mr Muto is required to take a mandatory leave of absence from the role of councillor until the criminal charge of blackmail is determined, effective immediately.

    Case: Inspectorate v Gerrit Schorel-Hlavka

    Local Government Area: Banyule City Council
    Venue: Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 31 July 2012

    Date of appeal: Yet to be determined

    Summary of facts

    Unsuccessful candidate Schorel-Hlavka was charged under section 62 of the Local Government Act 1989 for failing to submit a campaign donation return form disclosing all donations of $200 or above. Forms must be submitted to the council CEO within 60 days of the election date. Mr Schorel-Hlavka contested the charge and was found guilty with a conviction recorded.

    Ruling

    Found guilty with conviction and fined $400 plus costs. Mr Schorel-Hlavka lodged an appeal against sentence and conviction with an appeal date yet to be determined.

    Case: Inspectorate v Cr Belinda Clarkson

    Local Government Area: Nillumbik Shire Council
    Venue: Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court
    Judgment date: 15 June 2012

    Summary of facts

    Nillumbik Shire Councillor Belinda Clarkson was charged with two counts of breaching the conflict of interest provisions of the Local Government Act 1989 over failing to declare a conflict and leave the meetings where she was the subject of the matter before council. The matter was dealt with by way of a contested hearing at the Magistrates Court where the Magistrate agreed there was a case to answer but, based on a legal interpretation, ultimately found in favour of Councillor Clarkson and the charges were dismissed.

    Ruling

    Finding of not guilty.

Reviewed 24 January 2020