Steve Cansdell
Steve Cansdell Jojo Newby

Smith won't pressure DPP to charge MP Steve Cansdell

ATTORNEY -General Greg Smith has told NSW Parliament he will not call on the Director of Public Prosecutions to pursue criminal charges against disgraced Clarence MP Steve Cansdell until "otherwise advised".

Despite lying about not being behind the wheel of his car when it snapped by a speed camera in 2005, the former police secretary escaped criminal punishment when the staffer he claimed was driving refused to make a statement.

The NSW Government's handling of the investigation has been subject to debate since retired QC Bruce James suggested in February that Mr Cansdell could still have been prosecuted for lying under oath.

He also questioned whether the DPP had "properly investigated" the charges which could have been laid.

Earlier this month Mr Smith told parliament Mr James's concerns were a matter for the DPP.

But in a letter sent to shadow Attorney-General Paul Lynch last week, the DPP advised that Mr James's recommendations must be referred by Mr Smith's office.

In question time yesterday, Mr Lynch again asked Mr Smith if he would use his power to ask the DPP to consider the senior barrister's advice.

Mr Smith said while he had "great respect" for Mr James, he was willing to "stand by" other well-respected lawyers who did not agree with the advice until "otherwise advised".

Later, Mr Lynch told APN Newsdesk he would not give up his fight.

He said the questions raised must be pursued and instead of "sitting on his hands", Mr Smith needed to ensure the DPP "has another look".

Mr Cansdell quit shortly after the 2011 election following revelations he had told police his staffer Kath Palmer was driving at the time of the offence to avoid being stripped of his licence.



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