Margaret Cunneen to act for defence in marathon Obeid, Macdonald trial

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Mr Macdonald’s prison trial adopted a sequence of ICAC inquiries into the conduct of NSW Labor figures together with Mr Macdonald and Mr Obeid.

The court docket heard on Friday that Mr Obeid snr at the moment has no defence barrister locked in for the trial, which is predicted to start out on Could 13 and run for 20 weeks. The presiding choose, Elizabeth Fullerton, remarked dryly that the 20-week determine “higher not be an underestimate”.

The trial of the trio was initially listed for a six-month listening to starting on March four, nevertheless it was later moved to a date after the NSW election on March 23.

Mr Obeid snr can also be in jail after he was sentenced in December 2016 to a most of 5 years in jail over his secret enterprise dealings at Round Quay.

In October 2017, all three males entered pleas of not responsible to prices of conspiring between late 2007 and early 2009 over the grant by Macdonald, then NSW mining minister, of a profitable coal exploration licence over the Obeid household’s farm at Mount Penny within the Bylong Valley.

Former Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen.

Former Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen.Credit score:Wolter Peeters

The prosecution will allege the trio conspired that Macdonald would interact in willful misconduct in public workplace by performing “with out impartiality” or in breach of his obligations of confidentiality with the intention to profit Obeid household pursuits.

Ms Cunneen was not too long ago appointed to a panel advising the Morrison authorities on its proposed Commonwealth Integrity Fee, a physique touted as a federal ICAC however with main variations together with no public hearings in instances involving alleged corruption by MPs and their workers.

She has described ICAC as a “political assassination machine”.

“The Left need a nationwide ICAC and the rationale for that’s they’ll be capable to choose off their political enemies,” she mentioned at an Australians for Constitutional Monarchy discussion board in October.

The previous prosecutor was the topic of a short-lived investigation by ICAC into allegations, strenuously denied, that she perverted the course of justice after a automotive accident involving her son’s then-girlfriend in Could 2014.

Ms Cunneen efficiently challenged ICAC’s jurisdiction to research the matter and gained within the Court docket of Attraction, aborting the proposed inquiry. That call was upheld by the Excessive Court docket and the NSW Solicitor-Normal subsequently suggested the federal government that prison prices shouldn’t be introduced in opposition to Ms Cunneen over the allegations raised by ICAC.

Michaela Whitbourn is a authorized affairs reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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