Prosecutions

This page lists recent court cases.

2018 cases

Many of the cases in early 2018 relate to electoral candidates allegedly failing to submit a campaign donation return.

To comply with section 62 of the Local Government Act 1989, candidates must submit a campaign donation return when they receive any gifts or donations over $500, regardless of whether or not they are elected. Failing to do so can carry heavy court-imposed fines (up to a maximum 60 penalty units).

Case: Inspectorate v Michael Sixtus

Local government area: Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
Venue: Frankston Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 16 May 2018

Brief summary of facts

Michael Sixtus was a candidate in the 2016 Mornington Peninsula Shire Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. 

Ruling

Mr Sixtus pleaded guilty and was placed on an adjourned undertaking for 12 months (without conviction) and ordered to pay $1500 to the Court Fund and $1750 towards prosecution legal costs. In addition, an order was made for Mr Sixtus to submit a return within 7 days.

Case: Inspectorate v Frank Lamattina

Local government area: Casey Council
Court: Frankston Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 16 May 2018

Brief summary of facts

Frank Lamattina was a candidate in the 2016 Casey Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. 

Ruling

Mr Lamattina pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to submit a CDR to the CEO of Casey City Council. He was placed on an adjourned undertaking for 12 months (without conviction and ordered to pay $2500 to the Court Fund and $1750 towards prosecution legal costs.

Case: Inspectorate v Andrew Gibbs

Local Government Area: Gannawarra Shire Council
Venue: Kerang Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 26 April 2018

Brief summary of facts

Andrew Gibbs was a candidate in the 2016 Gannawarra Shire Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. Mr Gibbs requested to be placed on the diversion program after admitting his failure to submit a return.

Ruling

The court agree to place Mr Gibbs on the diversion program, and ordered him to submit his return, make a donation of $300 to the Cohuna CFA and pay prosecution legal costs of $1000.

Case: Inspectorate v Thomas Maher

Local Government Area: Strathbogie Shire Council
Venue: Benalla Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 24 April 2018

Brief summary of facts

Thomas Maher was a candidate in the 2016 Strathbogie Shire Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. As with other candidates prosecuted by the Inspectorate, Mr Maher had received emails and phone calls reminding him to submit a return and failed to respond.

Ruling

The court agreed to place Mr Maher on the diversion program, ordered him to submit his return, make a donation of $500 to a charitable organisation and pay $1000 towards prosecution legal costs.

Case: Inspectorate v Richard Foster

Local Government Area: Melbourne City Council
Venue: Melbourne Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 19 April 2018

Brief summary of facts

Mr Foster was charged with aiding or abetting the unlawful nomination by Ms Brooke Wandin during the 2016 elections. Resulting from charges related to this matter, Ms Wandin was placed without conditions on the diversion program in Melbourne Magistrates Court on 6 June 2017.

Ruling

The court recognised the seriousness of Mr Foster’s offending and placed him on a 12-month good behaviour bond with no conviction. Prosecution legal costs were awarded in an amount to be determined.

Case: Inspectorate v Sahra Ashkir

Local Government Area: Wyndham City Council
Venue: Werribee Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 17 April 2018

Brief summary of facts

Sahra Ashkir was a candidate in the 2016 Wyndham City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. As with other candidates prosecuted by the Inspectorate, Ms Ashkir had received emails and phone calls reminding her to submit a return and failed to respond. She pleaded guilty to the charge.

Ruling

The court imposed a 12 month good behaviour bond and did not grant a conviction or fine.

Case: Inspectorate v Wan Li Jiang

Local Government Area: Wyndham City Council
Venue: Werribee Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 17 April 2018

Brief summary of facts

Wan Li Jiang was a candidate in the 2016 Wyndham City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. As with other candidates prosecuted by the Inspectorate, Ms Jiang had received emails and phone calls reminding her to submit a return and failed to respond. She pleaded guilty to the charge.

Ruling

The court imposed a 12 month good behaviour bond and did not grant a conviction or fine.

Case: Inspectorate v Helen Fanakopoulou

Local Government Area: Wyndham City Council
Venue: Werribee Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 20 March 2018

Brief summary of facts

Helen Fanakopoulou was a candidate in the 2016 Wyndham City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. Mrs Fanakopoulou, who stood as a candidate under her maiden name Simeonidis, had received emails and phone calls reminding her to submit a return and failed to respond appropriately.

Ruling

The court found the charge proven, ordering Mrs Fanakopoulou to pay a $1500 fine and $1000 in court costs and receive a conviction.

Case: Inspectorate v Nick Nicolaou

Local Government Area: Brimbank City Council
Venue: Sunshine Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 5 March 2018

Brief summary of facts

Nick Nicolaou was a candidate in the 2016 Brimbank City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline.

Ruling

The court did not impose a conviction but ordered Mr Nicolaou to pay a fine of $550 and $1000 towards prosecution legal costs.

Case: Inspectorate v Ha Dang Quach

Local Government Area: Greater Dandenong City Council
Venue: Dandenong Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 1 March 2018

Brief summary of facts

Ha Dang Quach was a candidate in the 2016 Greater Dandenong City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline. The court took into account Mr Quach’s prior convictions in making a determination.

Ruling

The court convicted Mr Quach and ordered him to pay a $800 fine and $1750 towards prosecution legal costs.

Case: Inspectorate v Faisal Najibi

Local Government Area: Casey City Council
Venue: Dandenong Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 1 March 2018

Brief summary of facts

Faisal Najibi was a candidate in the 2016 Casey City Council elections and failed to submit a campaign donation return by deadline.

Ruling

The court imposed a 12 month good behaviour bond and ordered Mr Najibi to pay $1000 towards prosecution legal costs.

2017 cases

Case: Inspectorate v Brooke Wandin

Local Government Area: Melbourne City Council
Venue: Melbourne Magistrates Court
Judgement date: 6 June 2017

Brief summary of facts

Ms Wandin appeared for a diversion hearing on charges of unlawful nomination and false declaration. Ms Wandin was charged after the 2016 Melbourne City Council elections, in which it was alleged she falsely declared her eligibility to nominate as a councillor, despite not residing in the municipality in accordance with electoral regulations.

Ruling

Ms Wandin was granted a diversion with no criminal conviction recorded or fine imposed.

Visit the prosecutions archives page to see a list of archived court cases.