After fraud trial, former Ipswich mayor Andrew Antoniolli awaits his fate

But defence lawyer Peter Callaghan, SC, said the dishonesty charges — that Antoniolli denies — were problematic for the prosecution because the payments actually went to local community groups and none of the items were for his personal use.

«It’s not about the bids. It’s not about the items. It’s all about the money and … the money was authorised,» Mr Callaghan told Ipswich Magistrates Court on Monday.

Mr Antoniolli the trial he followed an unwritten council policy communicated by senior staff when he successfully bid on items including a $5000 Trek bicycle and two ladies pamper packs, between 2005 and 2017 while he was a councillor and mayor.

Mr Callaghan said the evidence had painted a picture of a poor culture at Ipswich City Council but the court was not being asked to make a judgment on that.

«The question is, was there dishonesty at the time of approving these donations?» he told the court during closing arguments.

«(The trial) has revealed many things about the problematic workings at the ICC but … criminal activity by Mr Antoniolli is not one of them.»

Ms Farnden asked: if Antoniolli had acted in a permissible way, why had he failed to tell the council about the purchases and why were emails about the transactions deleted?

Council policy did not permit the community donation fund to be used to purchase items, she said.

Ms Farnden said charities and community organisations were instructed not to mention the auctions on community donation request forms they were instructed to submit to receive payment.

«(An) ordinary honest person would consider it was not a permissible use of the community donation fund,» she said.

The charges followed a Crime and Corruption Commission investigation that led to the sacking of the entire council in 2018.

The court heard some of the items Mr Antoniolli bid on were not collected and others were left at the council chambers or re-gifted to other community groups.

The bicycle was allegedly found at his home.

Magistrate Anthony Gett will deliver his verdict on June 6.


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