Peter Slipper case to continue

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Peter Slipper will appeal against a decision made today not to allow charges against him to be thrown out of the ACT Magistrates Court, reports Callum Davidson.

CANBERRA ~ Former Federal Speaker Peter Slipper has failed in his bid to have all criminal charges against him dropped in the ACT Magistrates Court today.

The tumultuous affair is set to continue as Mr Slipper’s legal team indicated they will take their appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mr Slipper’s defence counsel Kylie Weston-Scheuber argued that the prosecution violated parliamentary privilege under section 16 of the Parliamentary Privileges Act.

But Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker rejected the notion, saying that it may constitute parliamentary privilege, however at this stage that was purely “speculation”.

The charges date back to 2010 when it is alleged Mr Slipper misused Cabcharge cards to visit various wineries in the Canberra region, amounting to approximately $900.

The prosecution argued that the winery visits were for personal reasons rather than parliamentary business and that Mr Slipper had falsified the fare amount.

Ms Weston-Scheuber insisted this case be dealt with outside the court and within the Federal Parliament.

But Commonwealth prosecutor Lionel Robberds said there was a clear distinction.

“In order to travel on parliamentary business, at the very least the purpose of the travel must be for parliamentary business,” Mr Robberds said.

“The purpose of the travel on these three occasions was not for parliamentary business.”

The high profile case has raised some interesting concerns for precedent, especially considering the recent ‘expenses scandal’ within the coalition, and what may or may not be covered by parliamentary privilege.

Mr Slipper and his legal team refused to comment after the verdict.

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