Disapproval at failure to charge

SHOTS were being fired yesterday from all angles at disgraced former Clarence MP Steve Cansdell and current NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith after revelations Mr Cansdell may escape prosecution in NSW for making a false statutory declaration.

Radio, newspapers, television and online media were abuzz with discussions, with most people outraged that Mr Cansdell, who signed a Commonwealth statutory declaration, won't be charged under state law as the declaration allegedly falls outside NSW jurisdiction.

Sydney talkback radio host John Laws entered the debate yesterday morning and was followed by shock jock Ray Hadley who both were critical of the NSW DPP's decision not to prosecute Mr Cansdell.

The news also triggered an outraged reaction from readers on The Northern Star's website.

Petergraf of Grafton wrote "It has taken nearly six months for the NSW police and the DPP to figure out how NOT to charge Steve Cansdell. What a great use of public money, well done."

Andih, also of Grafton, said: "While the signing of a false statutory declaration may be a federal offence the 13 offences, including perjury, perverting the course of justice, coercing are all state offences. What is prohibiting the police in this state from laying these charges similar to those laid against Justice Einfield?"

Opposition spokesman Nathan Rees accused the O'Farrell government of covering up the Cansdell affair.

"The legal advice to us, based on what we have been told, is that there are sufficient grounds for actions to be brought under state law," Mr Rees said.

"The evidence on the basis of what's been reported and what Mr Cansdell has said publicly is very clear.

"This isn't an issue about whether he did or didn't do something wrong. He's conceded that. He's resigned from Parliament and was very upfront, to his credit, to the local police. Instead six months, on no action.

"The actual breaches are of state law. Trying to flick it on to the Commonwealth is simply not on."

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