The battle between the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen took a new twist with the corruption watchdog referring its evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to consider whether she should be charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and giving false evidence to the ICAC.
The ICAC has also flagged whether the DPP should consider disciplinary proceedings against Cunneen.
ICAC was investigating allegations that the senior Crown prosecutor tried to pervert the course of justice by instructing her son’s girlfriend to fake chest pains to avoid a breath test following a car accident in May 2014.
Dubbed Operation Hale, the case went all the way to the High Court, and forced the NSW government to change the law to back the corruption watchdog and ensure that its earlier findings against others would stand.
Today the ICAC said that after considering the government’s new legislation, it decided the best course of action was to hand evidence from Operation Hale to the DPP so it can determine if any action should be taken against Cunneen, her son Stephen Wylie and his girlfriend, Sophia Tilley. The Commission says its initial investigation was sparked by information provided to it by a federal law enforcement agency.
“The Commission is of the view that it is in the public interest that the resolution of the allegations against Ms Cunneen, Mr Wylie and Ms Tilley ought not be further delayed. The Commission is unable to finalise its investigation in Operation Hale as a result of the decision of the High Court,” the ICAC said in a statement.
“The decision to refer the evidence is being taken by the Commission after an assessment of the reliability of the material which is to hand.”
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