Some say Santa came early for Craig Thomson this year, however the truth is simply that there is no more political mileage to be gained by continuing to pursue him.
After years of media scandal, political derision, thousands of police hours, hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars – perhaps millions – and the end result is a firm "not guilty" for Thomson on 95 per cent of the charges.
The Coalition that promised to “end the waste” were happy to waste the resources of the courts and police forces in two states for years to end up finding less than $4,000 worth of spending that they could charge Thomson for — and even those charges are highly questionable and still subject to appeal.
So, while the lawyers all got to loosen their belts and make out like bandits, it will be the taxpayers footing the bill for this witch hunt — and, more than likely, their grandkids.
Many will remember Tony Abbott’s childish carry on about the “tainted vote” of Craig Thomson. The ridiculous carry on that saw Abbott and Christopher Pyne fleeing parliament like hysterical infants fleeing the boogie monster.
Well it turns out Thomson’s vote never was tainted, in fact the aggregate of his offences were so minor a custodial sentence of any length was out of the question, let alone one of more than a year that would have disqualified him from standing for Parliament again. He is also able to stand as a company director and carry on his life like anyone else.
As for the trial by media, the mainstream media have again shown themselves to be little more than a kangaroo court, eager to smear and disparage irrespective of the actual evidence. Even now, as they lick their wounds in defeat, the media still talk about prostitutes, saying Thomson may have spent cash on sex workers. Of course, this is despite their being absolutely no evidence whatsoever of what he spent cash on — the judge said he could have spent it at Bunnings for all we know.
Thomson was fined $25K for the misuse of union funds related to cash withdrawals from his union credit card, these amounted to around $3,500.
However, it needs to be remembered when this much effort has been put into destroying someone’s life by a government and a police force or two, there is always going to be enormous pressure for Thomson to be found guilty of something.
Indeed, of the 13 charges Thomson was found guilty of, it is interesting to note that these charges were amended by the Judge after the hearing — meaning Thomson and his legal team were utterly prevented from mounting a defence against them.
It's all sounds highly "irregular" and, of course, leaves the door wide open for another appeal.
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Knowing what these charges were to be would more than likely have changed their entire defence strategy. After all it is hard to defend yourself against the unknown. The amending of charges after a hearing is highly unusual and it is perhaps only the amendment to those charges that allowed Judge Douglas to find Thomson guilty of anything at all.
Many have questioned why the Judge has seemingly verbally condemned Thomson with talk about prostitutes and self-indulgent behaviour, given they did not figure in the charges Thomson was actually defending and appear to fly in the face of her findings. Some have seen it as an unfair shot at a man who has been found not guilty of 211 charges. The Judges words have fueled speculation that the Judge may have thought Thomson guilty, despite being legally bound to find him not guilty due to the way the charges were worded.
In fact, I suspect what Judge Douglas may have been doing is something called denunciation. While this may seem like she is having a shot at Thomson, it actually means that by publicly reprimanding him, the police are unable to appeal against Thomson's sentence in order to increase it.
The denunciation also gives the media a way of saving some face — kind of a "win win" scenario.
Meanwhile Kathy Jackson should be looking on with concern, after all the amount of cash she testified under oath to withdrawing is measured not in the few thousands but in the hundreds of thousands.
Speaking of Jackson, it must please the Federal Court and the members no end to see her out on the town in Sydney on Monday enjoying herself, especially given the Federal Court action against her had been delayed until January because, apparently, she was receiving treatment in a mental facility.
The photos above were posted on her friend and house-mate Michael Smith's blog (which, incidentally, now appears to be nothing more than a Kathy Jackson fan page) — but for what reason. To rub the Federal Court judges face in it? To make Victorian Police look foolish? Or just as a “screw you” to the members?
Whatever Smith and Jackson’s reason, her day of reckoning would appear to be approaching.
For years, I have been told I am a fool for saying Thomson would not go to jail and Kathy Jackson likely would. In fact, I have been swimming against the media tide for so long I’ve grown accustomed to it.
But guess what?
The tide is turning…
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