Slipper freed of final court case, but not without harm

PETER Slipper lost his job, his reputation, his wife and nearly his life during court cases which have now been dropped.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution has decided not to appeal the decision of Justice J Burns to clear the former Member for Fisher and Speaker (pictured) of fraud charges.

This means the highly damaging cases Mr Slipper had piling up against him - including claims of sexual harassment from his former media advisor James Ashby - have been either withdrawn or shown to have had no substance.

A CDPP spokesman confirmed it would "not appeal the decision of his Honour Mr Justice Burns".

"The decision not to appeal was made on public interest grounds in light of all the circumstances including Mr Slipper's individual circumstances," the spokesman said.

Mr Slipper's lawyer, Owen Harris from Harris Wake Solicitors, said his firm was "very happy" with the outcome in this "very unique" case.

"Anytime the CDPP suspects public servants of dipping into the public purse, it is duty bound to chase that down pretty hard," Mr Harris said.

"Peter's role as Speaker, of course, put him in a very unique position and in the direct spotlight of both sides of politics.

"I'm not aware of any other case where a politician has been pursued through the courts for allegedly abusing their entitlements."

Mr Slipper's lawyers made a number of unsuccessful attempts to include evidence of the treatment under the Minchin protocol of MPs.

Once Mr Slipper "had had a chance to rest and recuperate" he might look at how to restore his reputation, Mr Harris said.

"There is always the opportunity for Mr Slipper now to look at who has made what untrue statements, but I suspect that he has had enough of courts for a while.

"And any victory in future court proceedings is likely to be a pyrrhic one, and is unlikely to overturn the harm Mr Slipper suffered,'' Mr Harris said.

"His reputation is now seriously tarnished, his future career is seriously limited and he is not going to be able to engage in the political space in the same way he did before."

 



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