Ex-councillor fights for justice

Ex-councillor fights for justice

A sacked Logan City councillor said the state’s corruption watchdog was “sadly mistaken” if it thinks he will “walk away” from justice.

Former Division 9 councillor Phil Pidgeon and six colleagues filed a Supreme Court claim for damages against the state government in April.

It came three years after they were exonerated of fraud charges over the dismissal of council’s former CEO Sharon Kelsey.

“We just want some justice,” Mr Pidgeon said.

“If we were a police officer or a teacher, that had been accused of what we were accused of and then were vindicated, they would get their jobs back.

“But it has been made pretty clear that we can’t get our jobs back.”

Mr Pidgeon said the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) had not “corrected its ways” after two inquiries found the agency had “acted partially”.

“The CCC is still as arrogant as it was, despite the fact that we had a parliamentary inquiry that found it acted outside the very act that governs it, but we still haven’t received an apology.”

The 2021 parliamentary inquiry found the CCC “acted outside its specific powers” and “breached its duty to act, at all times, independently and impartially”.

Mr Pidgeon said the seven sacked councillors – himself, Cherie Dalley, Jennie Breene, Laurie Smith, Russell Lutton, Trevina Schwarz and Steve Swenson – had “no desire” to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court.

“We just wanted to resolve this in an amicable way, but due to the recalcitrance and attitude of the CCC, we have no choice,” he said.

“For a start, the CCC needs to apologise – I mean, how hard can an apology be?

“If the CCC thinks that we’re going to walk away and give up on this, then they are very sadly mistaken.”

The worst part of it all, Mr Pidgeon said, was the impact the accusations had on his family.

“Something like this doesn’t just affect me and the ex-colleagues, but the families as well – the sons and the daughters are impacted,” he said.

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