McCurdy to stand trial

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page -

Mem­ber for Ovens Val­ley Tim McCurdy will stand trial and be re­quired to at­tend a direc­tions hear­ing just weeks be­fore the state elec­tion af­ter fac­ing court last week.

The Na­tion­als MP faced Shep­par­ton Mag­is­trates’ Court for a two day com­mit­tal hear­ing to see if there was suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to stand trial over al­le­ga­tions he made false doc­u­ments in con­nec­tion with the sale of two Co­bram dairy farms in 2009.

Mr McCurdy de­nies the al­le­ga­tions and said he will plead not guilty to the charges.

A direc­tions hear­ing has been set for Novem­ber 2, less than three weeks be­fore Vic­to­ri­ans go to the polls.

Speak­ing out­side court last week, Mr McCurdy said the trial will not de­rail his bid for re-elec­tion and said he will be run­ning for Ovens Val­ley and will con­tinue to do the good work he has been do­ing over the last eight years.

“We’re one step closer to the next op­por­tu­nity for me to have my say,” he said.

It’s al­leged Mr McCurdy, 55, sold two dairy farms in 2009, wrongly us­ing for­mer col­league Andrew Gil­mour’s real es­tate agency’s name, and col­lect­ing $269,000 in com­mis­sions.

Prose­cu­tors ar­gue Mr McCurdy wrongly used Mr Gil­mour’s agency let­ter­heads dur­ing the sales with­out his knowl­edge or per­mis­sion.

But Mr McCurdy’s lawyers told the court Mr Gil­mour had to au­tho­rise pay­ment of the prop­erty sale com­mis­sion and his agency know­ingly trans­ferred the cash to the de­fen­dant.

In the wit­ness box, Mr Gil­mour at times con­tra­dicted ev­i­dence from his for­mer re­cep­tion­ist and ad­mit­ted knowl­edge of the sales in 2009.

Mr Gil­mour first took his com­plaint to Con­sumer Af­fairs Vic­to­ria in 2014. It was re­ferred to po­lice and al­most four years later charges were laid.

The court was told the men were neigh­bours and worked to­gether on-and-off for sev­eral years and were col­leagues when one of the farms went up for sale in 2008.

Mr Gil­mour ran an auc­tion for the prop­erty as Mr McCurdy was un­li­censed to do so, but it did not re­sult in a sale.

A short time later their em­ployer, PGG Wright­son, closed its Aus­tralian op­er­a­tions, sell­ing two of­fices to Mr Gil­mour, who sub­se­quently opened Gil­mour and Com­pany in 2009 while Mr McCurdy worked for an­other firm.

Mr Gil­mour’s for­mer re­cep­tion­ist Kally Morey told the court last Wed­nes­day Mr McCurdy asked for a let­ter­head dur­ing one of his reg­u­lar vis­its to the of­fice and she handed it over.

But then the next day, Mr Gil­mour told the court Mr McCurdy was never in the of­fice.

The par­ties reached an undis­closed civil set­tle­ment in 2014.

The direc­tions hear­ing on Novem­ber 2 comes ahead of the Novem­ber 24 state elec­tion, when McCurdy plans to re­con­test his safe seat for the Na­tion­als, which he holds with a 16.6 per cent mar­gin.

The Na­tion­als say he will con­tinue to work hard for his con­stituents un­til the mat­ter is re­solved.

“Ad­vice from Tim’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion be­fore the week’s com­mit­tal hear­ing was that charges of this na­ture would usu­ally pro­ceed to trial, and that is the out­come Tim had ex­pected,” the party said in a state­ment af­ter the court de­ci­sion.

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