Recommendations for prosecutions

The Commission must seek the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on whether any prosecution should be commenced. The DPP determines whether any criminal charges can be laid, and conducts all prosecutions. The Commission provides information on this website in relation to the status of prosecution recommendations and outcomes as advised by the DPP. The progress of matters is generally within the hands of the DPP. Accordingly, the Commission does not directly notify persons affected of advice received from the DPP or the progress of their matters generally.

The ICAC is of the opinion that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions should be obtained with respect to the prosecution of the following persons:

Ivan Petch

  • The common law offence of misconduct in public office in relation to his handling of the discovery of adult material on Mr Neish's computer and his attempts to leak the material to the media.
  • Five offences of giving false or misleading evidence pursuant to section 87 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 relating to the discovery of adult material on John Neish's computer.
  • The common law offence of misconduct in public office in relation to his release of confidential advice from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, and also internal Council emails concerning planning approvals.
  • Making an unwarranted demand with menaces with the intention of influencing the exercise of a public duty pursuant to section 249K of the Crimes Act 1900 in relation to the approach to Danielle Dickson.
  • Offences of accepting an indirect campaign contribution pursuant to section 96E of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 in relation to advertising published in The Weekly Times on 1, 7, 15, and 22 August 2012, and also 29 August and 5 September 2012.

John Goubran

Making an unwarranted demand with menaces with the intention of influencing the exercise of a public duty pursuant to section 249K of the Crimes Act in relation to the approach to Mr Neish.

Anthony Stavrinos

Giving false or misleading evidence to the Commission pursuant to section 87 of the ICAC Act in relation to the leaking of details of the discovery of adult material on Mr Neish's computer.

John Booth

Giving false or misleading evidence to the Commission pursuant to section 87 of the ICAC Act in relation to his claim during the public inquiry that election advertising published in The Weekly Times under the banner of the website "saveryde.com" was organised by Barry O'Grady.

Jeffrey Salvestro-Martin

Accepting an indirect campaign contribution pursuant to s 96E of the EFED Act in relation to advertising published in The Weekly Times on 29 August and 5 September 2012.

Terry Perram

Accepting an indirect campaign contribution pursuant to s 96E of the EFED Act in relation to advertising published in The Weekly Times on 29 August and 5 September 2012.

Justin Li

Accepting an indirect campaign contribution pursuant to s 96E of the EFED Act in relation to advertising published in The Weekly Times on 29 August and 5 September 2012.

Victor Tagg

Accepting an indirect campaign contribution pursuant to s 96E of the EFED Act in relation to advertising published in The Weekly Times on 29 August and 5 September 2012.

Richard Henricus

Corruptly offering a benefit pursuant to section 249B(2) of the Crimes Act in relation to an approach to Councillor Bill Pickering in which Mr Pickering was asked to withdraw his opposition to a development application.

Updates

Following advice from the DPP, court attendance notices were served from 27 to 29 July 2015 on Ivan Petch, John Goubran, Richard Henricus, Anthony Stavrinos and John Booth.

Mr Petch was charged with one count of misconduct in public office for allegedly disclosing confidential information in relation to the former general manager John Neish in 2013. He was also charged with one count of blackmail for allegedly attempting to improperly influence council's acting general manager to resolve in favour of six independent councillors (of which he was one) a costs dispute in relation to Supreme Court of NSW proceedings by making a threat implying that if she did not do so, he and his fellow independent councillors would not support her application to be appointed general manager. 

Mr Petch was also charged with being an accessory before the fact of a count of blackmail alleged to have been committed in 2012 by John Goubran who had implied that Mr Neish's position of general manager would not be safe after the 2012 local government election unless Mr Neish agreed to form a committee to review the Ryde Civic Precinct Redevelopment proposal.

Mr Petch is also charged with six counts of giving false and misleading evidence at ICAC hearings in 2013.

Mr Goubran was charged with blackmail in relation to the threat alleged to have been made to Mr Neish, as set out above.

Mr Henricus was charged with corruptly offering a benefit in 2013 to a Ryde City Council officer by allegedly offering him favourable coverage in The Weekly Times if the officer did not prevent a particular development application from being approved by the council. Mr Henricus failed to appear on 7 April 2016 and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. He was arrested on 4 May 2016 and appeared befor the Gosford Local Court on 24 May 2016. He was sentenced on 29 June 2016 to 100 hours of community service.

Mr Booth was charged with giving false and misleading evidence to the ICAC, contrary to section 87 of the ICAC Act. He was acquitted on 11 April 2016.

Mr Stavrinos was charged with giving false and misleading evidence to the ICAC, contrary to section 87 of the ICAC Act. On 6 May 2016, Mr Stavrinos was convicted in the Local Court of one offence under section 87 of the ICAC Act. On 13 May 2016, he was sentenced to a term of 12 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 7 months. He lodged an appeal to the District Court, and has been granted conditional bail. On 19 September 2016, Mr Stavrinos' appeal was adjourned to 2 December 2016. On 2 December 2016, the matter was adjourned to 10 February 2017 to assess Mr Stavrinos' suitability for an intensive correction order (supervised intensive community service).

On 8 June 2017, her Honour Magistrate Schurr handed down judgment in the committal proceedings for Mr Petch and Mr Goubran.

Mr Goubran was facing one charge of blackmail. Her Honour found a prima facie case proven but dismissed the charge on the basis that there was no reasonable prospect that a reasonable jury, properly instructed, would convict Mr Goubran of an indictable offence.

Mr Petch was facing a charge of accessory before the fact to blackmail for the conduct involving Mr Goubran. As her Honour had dismissed the substantive charge against Mr Goubran, she dismissed this charge.

Mr Petch was also facing a charge of misconduct in public office. Her Honour found that a prima facie case had been established but dismissed the charge on the basis that there was no reasonable prospect that a reasonable jury, properly instructed, would convict Mr Petch of an indictable offence.

Mr Petch was committed for trial on a charge of blackmail. Six charges pursuant to section 87 of the ICAC Act were also sent to the Sydney District Court. The matter has been set down for a trial in the District Court commencing 24 September 2018.

Advice concerning the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981

The DPP also advised that there was sufficient evidence to commence criminal proceedings against Mr Petch, Justin Li, Jeffrey Salvestro-Martin, Terry Perram and Victor Tagg for offences alleged to have been committed by each of them in breach of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 in relation to advertising published in The Weekly Times in August and September 2012. Information in relation to offences against the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 was provided to the NSW Electoral Commission on 30 April 2015, following advice from the NSW Electoral Commission that it was taking over prosecution of offences under the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981. Despite the advice of the DPP, the NSW Electoral Commission announced on 26 August 2015 that it had formed the view that there was insufficient evidence to commence proceedings against the above individuals for offences under the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981.