Appeal filed over decision to acquit former Ipswich mayor

AN appeal has been filed over the court decision to set aside fraud convictions against former Ipswich mayor Andrew Antoniolli late last year.

Mr Antoniolli, who was the city's mayor for less than a year between 2017 and 2018, was found guilty of 13 fraud offences in June 2019.

He was later sentenced to six months in jail, wholly suspended, but his legal team lodged an appeal.

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It was alleged Antoniolli had fraudulently used more than $10,000 of Ipswich City Council's community donation funds to buy charity items at auction.

Mr Antoniolli admitted buying the items while he was a councillor and mayor but pleaded not guilty on the grounds it was accepted practice within the council to use the fund to buy items at auctions.

His legal team submitted that in the case of each of the charges, the money coming from the community fund was actually paid to community organisations.

It was submitted that therefore no deflection from purpose was established by his actions.

After a successful appeal, Ipswich District Court Judge Dennis Lynch QC acquitted Mr Antoniolli on all offences and set aside the convictions and sentences in December.

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In his findings, Judge Lynch said Magistrate Anthony Gett erred in ignoring the fact that Mr Antoniolli at no point acknowledged he had done anything wrong by bidding on charity auctions or supporting payments from the community fund.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said an appeal has now been filed over the District Court decision to overturn the conviction and sentence.

"As the matter relates to ongoing proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time," he said.

Mr Antoniolli was contacted for comment.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.

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