Former Mayor of Ryde and others prosecuted following ICAC investigation

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Former City of Ryde Mayor Ivan Petch is being prosecuted for offences including misconduct in public office, blackmail, and giving false or misleading evidence to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Court attendance notices were served this week on Mr Petch, John Goubran, Richard Henricus, Anthony Stavrinos and John Booth following advice received from the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in relation to the ICAC's Operation Cavill investigation. Operation Cavill concerned alleged attempts by Mr Petch to improperly influence the exercise of official functions of the council's general manager and acting general manager, and the release of confidential council information by Mr Petch for various purposes, including attempts to cast doubt on the suitability of John Neish to serve as the council's general manager.

Mr Petch is charged with one count of misconduct in public office by allegedly disclosing confidential information in relation to Mr Neish in 2013. Mr Petch is 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) an ongoing 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 is also charged with being an accessory before the fact of a count of blackmail alleged to have been committed in 2012 by Mr Goubran implying 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. Further, Mr Petch is also charged with six counts of giving false and misleading evidence at ICAC hearings in 2013.

Mr Goubran is charged with blackmail in relation to the threat alleged to have been made to Mr Neish. Mr Henricus is 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 Stavrinos and Mr Booth are charged with giving false and misleading evidence at ICAC hearings in 2013.

The matters are listed for mention before the Downing Centre Local Court on 3 September 2015.


Media contact: ICAC Manager Communications & Media, Nicole Thomas, 02 8281 5799 / 0417 467 801