Cansdell case 'stinks of cover-up'

Disgraced former Clarence MP Steve Cansdell.
Disgraced former Clarence MP Steve Cansdell.

NSW Labor leader John Robertson has accused the O'Farrell Government of trying to cover up the case against disgraced former Clarence MP Steve Cansdell, who resigned from Parliament last year after admit- ting to falsifying a statutory declaration.

The NSW Opposition Leader said a revelation by Mr Cansdell's former staffer, Kath Palmer, that she signed the statutory declaration on the back of a NSW speeding fine cast serious doubt over the credibility of Attorney General Greg Smith.

"This entire matter stinks of a cover-up," he said.

"If this were any other person on the street they would be charged and potentially facing jail time right now.

"Instead, Mr Cansdell has been allowed to all-but get away with signing a false statutory declaration."

On March 7, Mr Smith told State Parliament the NSW Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) would not be able to prosecute Mr Cansdell's case as he signed a Commonwealth statutory declaration.

But this is at odds with information from the NSW State Debt Recovery Office who confirmed all NSW speeding fines were printed with NSW statutory declarations on the back.

After Mr Cansdell walked into Grafton police station on September 16 to admit his crime and provided officers with evidence of the falsified statutory declaration, Mr Robertson said he should be prosecuted.

"The people of the Clarence deserve answers about why, when Steve Cansdell admitted to his crime, he is still no closer to facing charges," he said.

"The O'Farrell Government thought it sufficient to ask Mr Cansdell to resign last year, so why are they seeking to bury the case in another jurisdiction now?"

The matter was passed onto the Commonwealth DPP on March 8, who last week declined to comment on whether they will proceed to prosecution.

A spokesperson for Mr Smith said the police and not the Government referred the matter to the Commonwealth DPP.

The spokesperson said amendments made to the Fines Act in 2008 removed reference to the Commonwealth's Statutory Declarations Act.

He said as the Cansdell statutory declaration was made in 2005 it was before the change and thus included reference to the Commonwealth Statutory Declarations Act.

Topics:  barry o'farrell clarence nsw government politics steve cansdell

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