Thursday, 8 March 2012

Steven Rhett Cansdell, retired NSW Nationals MP. The story so far....

In 2003 Nationals candidate Stephen Rhett Cansdell was elected to the NSW Parliament representing the Clarence electorate.
In 2005 he was caught on a Roads & Traffic Authority camera, driving in excess of the speed limit on the Pacific Highway at Woodburn NSW.
He subsequently made a false statement to a NSW Government agency in order to avoid losing his driving license. This false statement was made in a signed statutory declaration presented to that agency.
A part-time member of his electoral staff was allegedly induced to falsely agree that she had been driving the car when it was caught by the speed camera.
In 2007 he was elected to the NSW Parliament for a second time and in March 2011 he was returned as the Member for Clarence for the third time.
In between that time, he reportedly went on to lose his licence in 2009 after he was pulled over for doing 100kmh in an 80kmh zone at Clarenza. [The Daily Examiner,7 October 2011]

In April 2011 Cansdell publicly attacked a Local Court magistrate hearing charges relating to the Yamba riot, calling him pissweak and his decision a total travesty of justice. [North Coast Voices, 15 April 2011 and ABC North Coast NSW,13 April 2011]
On 16 September 2011 Steve Cansdell resigned his seat and, his position as Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Member of the Legislative Assembly Committee on Economic Development.
He left with the full financial benefits accruing to a Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly who had been in that position for eight years, five months and twenty-eight days.
On the morning of the day he announced his retirement, Mr. Cansdell was said to have attended Grafton Police Station and made a formal confession. Sometime later NSW Police commenced an investigation [The Daily Examiner,17 November 2011].
In the print, radio and television mediums Mr. Cansdell publicly admitted his wrongdoing.
He also admitted that he had avoided the driving license penalty because he wanted a "clean slate" in the lead up to the next election. [The Daily Examiner,7 October 2011]
He further admitted that he would probably never have confessed to his crime if a whistle blower hadn't drawn attention to it. [ABC North Coast NSW,22 November 2011]
So on one hand we have a former Member of Parliament who by his own admission broke the law and, as an undiscovered political miscreant twice successfully stood for re-election in part on a law and order platform. In the 2011 election campaign it was reported that Mr Cansdell said people were fed up with a system of law and order which failed to effectively demonstrate to people that actions had consequences. [The Casino Times,10 March 2011]

On the other hand we have an O’Farrell Coalition Government that did not suspend this government member when he confessed to the Deputy-Premier and, a parliamentary political party which did not expel him and continues to publicly support him despite his admitted wrongdoing.
A category of wrongdoing which is included in the Criminal Code and an act which a reasonable person might say brought State Parliament into disrepute.
Then in 2012 we have a NSW Director of Public Prosecutions who decides to ignore the fact that the false statement was made to a state agency in order to gain a benefit and refers the matter to the Commonwealth – because the statutory declaration form used was apparently one created under the C’wealth Statutory Declarations Act 1959 and not the NSW Oaths Act 1909. Mr. Cansdell apparently having elected not to use the form sent out with the NSW Office of State Revenue State Debt Recovery penalty notice. [NSW Attorney General and Minister for Justice in Hansard,7 March 2012 and NSW Office of State Revenue,2012]

According to The Daily Examiner on 7 March 2012; Late Wednesday the NSW Police Media Service released the following statement: "After receiving internal legal advice, the NSW Police Force will tomorrow hand over the brief of evidence in the Cansdell matter to the Commonwealth DPP. The office of the Commonwealth DPP declined to comment.

To be continued...........

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