ATTEMPTS by Peter Slipper and ministers to label the behaviour of James Ashby part of a criminal conspiracy have backfired.
Mr Ashby is suing the speaker of the house Mr Slipper for sexual harassment, with Mr Slipper and the Commonwealth arguing that the case is an abuse of process.
However Justice Steven Rares in the Federal Court this morning said that the allegations of a criminal conspiracy from Mr Slipper and senior ministers meant that Mr Ashby could no longer be forced to make a submission against the allegations in the civil case because he may incriminate himself.
“You have raised the stakes, now in raising the stakes you cannot just pull back a bit . . . You don’t know how somebody might use that information in a criminal investigation,” Justice Rares told Mr Slipper’s lawyer David Chin.
“He does not have to give his name if he is involved in and suspected of a crime . . . If we do not uphold those rights in our society we live in a police state.”
Ouch. The government had been hoping to portray the whole thing as some kind of conspiracy and get the case thrown out of court.
The AFR picked up on the cab voucher aspect of the story today ($).
Amid those records are at least 16 occasions when Slipper took expensive taxi rides to or from an airport – but where there is no Finance Department record of him taking a flight on the day. The records of Slipper’s taxi and limousine use – paid by the Commonwealth for business use, and his separate flight records paid by the Commonwealth for business use –have been posted online by the department.