Former council accused may seek judge-only trials
TWO former Ipswich City Council officers who intend to defend charges of misconduct in public office may chose a judge-alone trial.
One of the accused indicated the intention to request such a trial, which would involve the case being heard without a jury present.
Legal representatives for the other defendant are to consider the option.
The option was raised in Ipswich District Court on Friday when the cases against Ben Hayward and Craig Maudsley were mentioned before Judge Dennis Lynch QC.
Health restrictions imposed on the number of people in courtrooms because of COVID-19 health concerns was one factor being considered.
With their trials expected to last a week, the court heard there was an issue as to how many jurors would need to be selected for the jury panel, and the number of ‘reserve’ jurors.
The number chosen for a jury trial would exceed the usual 12 person jury panel, and (with the COVID restrictions) stretch the capacity of the Ipswich courtroom.
Craig Kelvin Maudsley, 56, from Yamanto, is charged by the Crown with two separate counts of misconduct in relation to public office doing an act or making an omission in abuse of authority of office on dates between August 2, 2016 and July 20, 2017.
The second charge relates to dates between September 14, 2016 and November 23, 2016. Maudsley is the former chief operating officer of works, parks and recreation at Ipswich City Council.
Ben Michael Hayward, 38, from Brassall, is charged with misconduct in relation to public office doing an act or making an omission in abuse of authority of office on dates between August 2, 2016 and July 20, 2017.
At the time of the allegation Hayward was the executive officer to the former mayor Paul Pisasale.
At Friday’s court mention, Judge Lynch said the trial of two defendants would likely require a minimum of 44 jurors, and with a minimum of 60 people to attend to ensure panel selection.
He reminded the legal teams of the new COVID-19 restrictions that mandated the number of people in a courtroom per square metre.
Judge Lynch said jury trials were expected to resume, on a limited basis, at Ipswich later this month.
Some of the delayed trials had already been allocated priority.
He asked if the two matters had urgency.
Crown prosecutor Sam Bain said that in terms of priority he could not put anything before the court other than both cases had been around for some time.
Defence barrister Tony Glynn QC, who appeared by phone link for Maudsley, said his client was under an enormous amount of stress because of the allegations.
Judge Lynch said he understood the concerns.
He said a judge-alone trial was an option if they were to make application.
“We will give it further thought,” Mr Glynn said.
Defence barrister Stephen Kissick said he had “firm instructions to seek a judge-alone trial ” from his client Hayward.
“I do hold these instructions,” he said.
Mr Kissick said three days would likely be required for a judge-alone trial.
Both cases were adjourned to September 1 for further consideration.
Both men, who remain on bail, strongly maintain their innocence.
They were charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission two years ago following investigations into the council.
The court heard that a previous trial date had earlier been delisted.