The bungling and inept WA Corruption and Crime Commission has again been embarrassed following the dismissing of charges against a property developer David McKenzie for giving them false evidence because the CCC investigators had made a key error when quizzing him.
In what is being reported as a “major blow” to the discredited Commission that is well-known for targeting public servants and politicians in a highly harassing and intimidatory way but leaving nasty organised criminals and gangsters alone, the Commission’s cases against other targets – like patriot Julian Grill – might also be affected.
The ABC reports:
David McKenzie was charged with two counts of giving false evidence to a CCC hearing on the Smiths Beach development in 2006.
The charges related to amendments to a town planning scheme, which would have affected Mr McKenzie’s proposed resort development near Yallingup.
Prosecutors alleged that Mr McKenzie knew the amendments would be discussed at a meeting with Department of Planning and Infrastructure officers, but he had denied having that knowledge when he testified in 2006.
But the charges were dismissed after the Perth Magistrate’s Court heard yesterday that Mr McKenzie was questioned about the South West ‘Regional’ Planning Committee, when its proper name was the South West ‘Region’ Planning Committee.
A spokeswoman for the CCC says it’s considering it’s (sic) position.
The West Australian said:
(McKenzie’s lawyer) Mr Richardson relied on an 1809 precedent to argue that because Mr Hall used the incorrect word during the hearings then the accusations were false.
â€œThere was no evidence of a meeting of that name on that day,â€ he said. â€œIt is fundamental in a perjury trial that the accused person gave the evidence said to be false.â€
Mr Richardson said both charges referred to the â€œregionalâ€ committee so both were false.
He said if the prosecution case was to succeed then it must prove the â€œregionalâ€ committee existed. â€œHow can a man be deprived of his liberty when it was not a mistake by him . . . it was a mistake by Mr Hall,â€ he said.
Throughout the trial, recorded conversations were played to the court where Mr McKenzie discussed the amendment and Mr Frewerâ€™s involvement on the committee with Brian Burke and his colleague Julian Grill six months before denying knowing about them at the CCC hearings. Mr Burke and Mr Grill were employed as lobbyists by Mr McKenzie to win approval for the development.
Prosecutor Tony Elliot said there was â€œsome force in Mr Richardsonâ€™s submissionâ€. â€œIf I have got it wrong, there will be an appeal,â€ he said.
Mr Heaney said he accepted Mr Richardsonâ€™s argument and the complaints were dismissed.
A CCC spokeswoman said last night it was considering its position.
Many believe the WA Government ought re-consider the role of the WA CCC. It has clearly outlived its usefulness. Its persecution by prosecution of controversial political figures has gone on long enough.