Government ‘delayed' Cansdell news
JOHN Robertson has accused NSW Attorney General Greg Smith of delaying the revelation that the state would not be pursuing charges against disgraced former Clarence MP Steve Cansdell for two weeks.
Ironically, Mr Cansdell was in State Parliament when Mr Smith made the announcement last Tuesday.
On Friday the NSW Opposition Leader told The Daily Examiner after Mr Smith was questioned by a journalist on February 23 he received information that the state would not be pursuing charges.
"The O'Farrell Government received information that charges were not being laid against Steve Cansdell on February 23 and then sat on it for two weeks," Mr Rob- ertson said.
He said that without Labor keeping pressure on the O'Farrell Government over the issue, he wondered whether they would have tried to cover up the matter entirely.
"If we had not continued to raise this matter in the Parliament, would the truth about Steve Cansdell's case have ever been made public?
"The O'Farrell Government knew charges were not being laid against Mr Cansdell in NSW but made no attempt to ensure it was passed onto the Commonwealth DPP for possible charges."
Shadow Minister for Police Nathan Rees also accused the O'Farrell Government of trying to sweep the Cansdell matter under the carpet.
"At the moment it just appears as though there is one law for the people of NSW and another law for members of the O'Farrell Gov- ernment," Mr Rees said.
"The O'Farrell Government has serious questions to answer about why this matter has been covered up for six months."
The NSW Police legal service passed the matter onto the Commonwealth DPP on Wednesday.
Under the Commonwealth Statutory Declarations Act of 1959, the maximum penalty for such falsification of a statutory declaration, if convicted, is imprisonment for four years.
Section 12 of the Statutory Declarations Act of 1959 states that NSW courts are invested with federal jurisdiction; therefore they could be used to prosecute the matter if the Commonwealth DPP proceed to prosecution.