Coun­cil boss guilty of tax­payer funded romp Get green at coun­cil tree plant

NT News - - NEWS - CRAIG DUN­LOP

FOR­MER Litch­field Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Iian Wil­son has avoided be­ing locked up over us­ing ratepayer money to bankroll an in­ter­state sex trip.

Wil­son, 53, was handed a four-month sus­pended sen­tence yes­ter­day af­ter Lo­cal Court Judge Greg Smith found him guilty of nine counts of ob­tain­ing ben­e­fit by de­cep­tion.

Wil­son, who was sacked in May 2015, first fronted court in Fe­bru­ary af­ter be­ing charged with ob­tain­ing a com­bined $1516 in ben­e­fits from the coun­cil. It footed the bill for Wil­son’s trip to Bris­bane and Mel­bourne, where he can­celled most of his meet­ings to romp with a mar­ried sub­or­di­nate coun­cil staff mem­ber.

The pros­e­cu­tion case was that Wil­son did no work in Bris­bane, and the small amount of work in Mel­bourne was a ruse to cover up his sex­ual ren­dezvous.

Mr Smith said Wil­son had com­mit­ted “a de­cep­tion by ad­mis­sion” in not telling coun­cil’s then statu­tory ad­min­is­tra­tor Frank Craw­ley of travel plans.

“He knew, or at least thought it highly un­likely that he would have been di­rected not to un­der­take the trip,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith said Wil­son’s po­lice in­ter­view was “punc­tu­ated with a se­ries of lies” and that he couldn’t ac­cept the claim he can­celled meet­ings be­cause of ill­ness in the face of other ev­i­dence he had been drink­ing, play­ing pool and hav­ing sex rather than “con­va­lesc­ing”.

“Frankly that claim was non­sense,” Mr Smith said.

He said that Wil­son’s lies could be partly ex­plained by want­ing to keep his af­fair a se­cret from his wife.

De­fence lawyer Peter Ma­ley said Wil­son’s con­vic­tions amounted to a “se­ri­ous pub­lic stain on his rep­u­ta­tion”.

Mr Smith re­jected pros­e­cu­tor Sarah Pringle’s claims Wil­son’s crimes jus­ti­fied ac­tual time be­hind bars.

“I’m not deal­ing with a case where there is cor­rup­tion at some high level,” he said.

Wil­son, sup­ported in court by his wife, was also or­dered to re­im­burse coun­cil the cost of the trip. DAR­WIN res­i­dents have been asked to get their green thumbs out and help the coun­cil plant trees to­day.

The com­mu­nity plant­ing day at Peace Park in Leanyer will see a va­ri­ety of na­tive species planted, in­clud­ing ghost gums, milk­woods and more.

The gar­den­ing fol­lows the re­moval of 44 trees af­ter they suc­cumbed to com­mon fun­gal disease.

A fur­ther 19 trees were in ir­re­versible de­cline and were re­moved for the safety of the com­mu­nity.

Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said the coun­cil was de­ter­mined to re­ju­ve­nate and reveg­e­tate the area for the en­joy­ment of the com­mu­nity.

“All of the trees that were re­moved will be re­placed,” he said. “We will be plant­ing more shrubs and veg­e­ta­tion to cre­ate habi­tats for the lo­cal wildlife.”

The plant­ing day will run from 8am to noon.

‘Frankly that (Wil­son’s) claim was non­sense’ LO­CAL COURT JUDGE GREG SMITH

Pic­ture: JUSTIN KENNEDY

For­mer Litch­field Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Iian Wil­son has been sen­tenced over il­le­git­i­mate trips to Bris­bane and Mel­bourne

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