News

Robinson considers High Court battle to clear name

A FORMER ATSIC deputy director, convicted of dishonesty charges, will consider taking his case to the High Court after losing an appeal in Queensland's highest court.

Robert Raymond Lloyd Robinson has always fought dishonesty offences arising from two letters he sent under the ATSIC banner in 2004 endorsing the $114,500 sale of 10 vehicles which then belonged to Charleville-based Aboriginal agencies Bidjara CDEP and Bidjara South West Queensland Legal Service.

The Commonwealth argued ATSIC did not approve the sale and Robinson derived $45,000 from the sale to fund a private legal matter.

Solicitor Patrick Quinn, from Creevey Russell Lawyers, said his client was disappointed with the Court of Appeal's decision.

"He will carefully consider the decision before making a determination as to whether or not he will pursue a further appeal," he said.

Robinson was sentenced to 12 months jail, with immediate release on a three-year good behaviour bond, after a Toowoomba jury last year found him guilty of dishonestly using his position.

He swore during his testimony that the legal service had leant him the money to pay lawyers in a personal matter.

Robinson has strenuously denied any wrongdoing, throughout three trials, arguing approval was not necessary because the two Aboriginal agencies had owned the respective cars through ATSIC funding.

ATSIC was abolished in 2005.

Robinson's lawyers argued in the Court of Appeal that the Toowoomba judge should have stayed the charges as an abuse of process, certain evidence should have been excluded and that the guilty verdicts were unreasonable.

Justice David North, in a judgment handed down on Tuesday, said the jury was "entitled to disbelieve" Robinson's arguments that the vehicle purchases satisfied all terms of a funds grant or his alleged belief ATSIC approval was not required for the vehicles' sale.

He said Robinson's explanation was "incoherent" when tested in cross-examination.

Justices John Muir and Margaret McMurdo agreed the jury did not have to accept Robinson's explanation about the grant procedure and it was open to them to conclude he had acted dishonestly.

"After reviewing the evidence I am satisfied the jury could rightly have found beyond reasonable doubt that when he wrote both those letters he was acting dishonestly," Ms McMurdo said.

Topics:  dishonesty high court



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