Footage shows Pisasale meeting sex worker: Court

 

A Melbourne developer arranged for sex workers, paid for restaurant meals and provided $15,000 cash for then Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale, a prosecutor has alleged.

Developer Chris Pinzone, who is charged with official corruption, and Pisasale spoke in a coded phone conversation about the cash, referring to it as "paperwork", the Crown alleges.

Pinzone is charged with giving or offering Pisasale benefits in exchange for him using his office to promote the sale and development of a Yamanto site, in 2016 and 2017.

Pinzone's solicitor, Craig Stevenson, has argued at a Brisbane Magistrates Court committal hearing that he has no case to answer.

The court heard how Pinzone flew from Melbourne to Brisbane on April 8, 2017, with $15,000 in cash, telling police who pulled him aside at Brisbane Airport that it was for his lawyer.

Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale and developer Chris Pinzone.
Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale and developer Chris Pinzone.


Prosecutor Sarah Farnden said Pinzone was under surveillance when, after going to a solicitor's office, he later went to meet Pisasale at Gambaro's restaurant in Brisbane.

Ms Farnden said although there was no direct evidence that the cash went to Pisasale, the mayor left the restaurant carrying a plastic bag.

She said phone intercepts of conversations between Pinzone and Pisasale before that day indicated the primary purpose of Pinzone's trip was to provide Pisasale with the cash.

The court heard how Pisasale was under surveillance when he met Pinzone and a sex worker at a Melbourne hotel.

In a taped conversation, Pinzone earlier called a woman asking if she was working that night and whether she could bring "Jo Jo" to the hotel that night.

Surveillance footage showed two ladies arrived in a car.

Paul Pisasale as Ipswich mayor. A court heard Pisasale was under surveillance when he met Pinzone and a sex worker at a Melbourne hotel. Picture: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Paul Pisasale as Ipswich mayor. A court heard Pisasale was under surveillance when he met Pinzone and a sex worker at a Melbourne hotel. Picture: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle


"One lady gets out and goes up to Mr Pisasale and Mr Pinzone gets in the car with the other lady and drives off," Mr Stevenson said.

He said there was no evidence of what happened from then and no evidence of any benefit being given to Pisasale.

"Obviously the insinuation, the allegation, is that lady is a licensed masseur, for want of a better word," Mr Stevenson said.

Chris Pinzone
Chris Pinzone

Ms Farnden said it could be inferred from phone and surveillance evidence that Pinzone paid for escort services for Pisasale, based on his organisation of such services.

Ms Farnden alleged there was a corrupt arrangement involving the giving of gifts in return for Pisasale "doing the work".

Ms Farnden said it relied on the covert nature of the transactions and use of code in phone calls, with Pisasale aware that the Crime and Corruption was investigating him.

She said an Ipswich City Council town planner had said the degree and type of involvement by the mayor in the proposed Yamanto development was "highly unusual".

Mr Stevenson said there was no direct evidence of Pisasale receiving a benefit from Pinzone and the case was mostly circumstantial.

Mr Stevenson said Pisasale had been "championing" the Yamanto development as mayor before he allegedly received any benefits from Pinzone.

Magistrate Belinda Merrin reserved her decision.

Originally published as Footage shows Pisasale meeting sex worker: Court



Millions owed: Qld’s biggest construction company collapses

Premium Content Millions owed: Qld’s biggest construction company collapses

State’s construction company collapses revealed

Driver suffers injuries after car smashes into tree

Premium Content Driver suffers injuries after car smashes into tree

Paramedics rushed to Peregian Springs on Tuesday night after a driver crashed into...

Gympie Magistrates Court appearances for today

Premium Content Gympie Magistrates Court appearances for today

Here is a list of matters listed at Gympie Magistrates Court