Quartet appeal corruption probe jail sentences
A crooked Ipswich council top official and three corrupt accomplices have appealed to the courts to cut their time behind bars.
The council's former chief executive officer Carl Wulff was sentenced to five years in jail in February over taking $241,000 in bribes from contractors. He will be eligible for parole in August 2020.
It remains the heaviest sentence handed down so far as a result of the Crime and Corruption Commission's wide-ranging Operation Windage investigation into the council.
Wulff was jailed over two corrupt schemes.
But his barrister Justin Greggery argued in a Court of Appeal hearing in Brisbane today for Wulff's jail time to be cut.
He told the court Wulff had demonstrated remorse by returning the corrupt payments to the state.
Mr Greggery also referred to Wulff's written confession to the CCC in mid-2018.
Wulff's wife Sharon Oxenbridge is also appealing her prison sentence for her role in the corrupt schemes.
She was sentenced in February to three years' prison, suspended after nine months.
Oxenbridge was complicit in a false consulting arrangement to disguise contractor bribes.
Her barrister argued today that her non-parole period was excessive in light of circumstances, including that she had acted under "some level of coercion because of marital finances."
But Justice Philip Morrison pointed out that Oxenbridge had "signed a consultancy agreement knowing she was not providing any of those services."
"She's not the wife sitting in the corner who has just let her husband do things," he said.
Prosecutor Sarah Farnden rejected Oxenbridge acted under coercion.
She said she had an "active involvement" in the corrupt deal.
Council contractor Claude Walker, who scored work after corrupt payments to Wulff and Oxenbridge's company, was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended after nine months.
Walker's barrister Saul Holt today argued his non-parole period was excessive.
He said Walker did not end up receiving any money from the corrupt arrangement.
Walker had entered the arrangement to get favourable treatment in the future, but there was no evidence that eventuated, he said.
He received a 2.5 year jail sentence, suspended after six months, for his role in what was described as a "quick kickback arrangement" involving another corrupt council contractor.
It involved $115,500 in corrupt payments.
His sentence took into account his helping the CCC catch out Wulff by wearing a wire.
But Myers' barrister Michael Copley this morning argued that Myers' non-parole period was manifestly excessive in light of his "remarkable and substantial cooperation" with CCC investigators.
Mr Copley said the co-operation should have received "far greater consideration."
He referred to Myers' wearing a wire twice to covertly record Wulff for investigators.
The recordings formed the basis of proving Wulff had attempted to pervert the course of justice.
Mr Copley also referred to sentencing remarks that the corrupt payments to Wulff only became clear to police because of Myers' cooperation.
"..the applicant had gone out and in connection with the wearing of the wire gathered evidence which he brought back to the commission, which they were able to deploy," Mr Copley said.
"It had an incalculable benefit for the prosecution the fact that those conversations were recorded."
But Justice Morrison, however, responded that Myers' actions involved "very, very highly placed officials of a public body and Myers' sentence had already been substantially reduced.
"It's striking right at the heart of the administration of public office," he said.
The now-closed Ipswich CCC probe triggered the sacking of the council and sparked new integrity rules in local government after sixteen people were charged with offences, including two former mayors.
Five people have been given prison sentences.