Stunning evidence from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to the Atkinson-Ashbourne inquiry helps explain why Mike Rann and his Ministers have tried to cover up the affair right from the start, according to Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Mr Stephen Pallaras today revealed that he believes Mike Rann’s Senior Legal Adviser, Mr Nick Alexandrides, made an ‘improper attempt to threaten’ a Crown prosecutor in the state’s first political corruption trial – involving Mike Rann’s former senior adviser Randall Ashbourne,” Mr Lucas said today.
“Mr Pallaras gave evidence that Mr Alexandrides had threatened to take the prosecutor to the Legal Practitioners Conduct Board, which is the disciplinary board for lawyers.
“Mr Pallaras also highlighted a number of other concerns he had with the actions and behaviour of Mr Alexandrides.
“Mike Rann now has no alternative but to sack Mr Alexandrides. Given the evidence of the DPP it would be intolerable for Mr Rann to allow his senior legal adviser to continue his employment.
“Mr Pallaras also gave evidence that if he had attended the meeting in November 2002 – when the Premier, Deputy Premier and Attorney-General first discussed the corruption allegations – he would have immediately referred the issue to the Anti-Corruption Branch of SA Police.
“As we know, Mike Rann tried to keep the matter secret and it was only revealed publicly seven months later through Liberal Party questions in the Parliament. If Mike Rann had his way we would never have found out about this affair.
“Mr Pallaras also made the obvious point that, in general terms, Police investigations are easier the sooner they commence after the alleged offence. Mike Rann’s decision to keep it secret certainly didn’t assist the chances of getting all the required evidence on the issue.”
Mr Lucas says the Rann Government has tried to cover up this issue right from the start:
• The issue was only ever revealed publicly due to Liberal Party questions in Parliament seven months after the Government knew
• The Alexandrides affair was only revealed publicly due to Liberal Party questions in the Parliament
• Mike Rann tried to impose a closed inquiry with restricted terms of reference and powers
• Now Mike Rann, Kevin Foley and Michael Atkinson are threatening not even to answer questions on their actions before the Select Committee
“Mr Pallaras’ evidence today now throws some light on why Mike Rann and his Ministers have been desperate to keep this issue secret and hidden from public exposure,” Mr Lucas said.