'Self-serving' Antoniolli guilty of fraud
ANDREW Antoniolli will have to wait nearly two months to learn of the penalty he will receive after being convicted of all 13 fraud related charges levelled against him.
In a two-hour judgment delivered at Ipswich Magistrate's Court today, Magistrate Anthony Gett found the former mayor guilty of 12 fraud charges and one of attempted fraud.
That meant 48-year-old Antoniolli contravened council policy and dishonestly used its community donation fund to buy items at fundraising auctions by various community groups.
As a glum-faced Antoniolli listened closely to proceedings - at times restlessly clasping his hands on the bench - it would have become apparent to him as to where the decision was headed with Mr Gett outlining each charge and the evidence heard during his trial.
Mr Gett found Antoniolli's acts to be dishonest when assessed by the standards of "ordinary decent people," and that subjective intent to commit fraud had been established.
Antoniolli's wife Karina, who was seated in the courtroom, used a tissue to wipe away tears as she listened.
Mr Gett said it was clear from evidence put forward by Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden that Antoniolli had either re-purposed items obtained at community fundraising auctions, did not collect them at all, or stored them in his council offices or home.
Mr Gett said Antoniolli did not disclose to the community donation fund that the payments were linked with the auctions.
He said Antoniolli had shown dishonest intent because he had knowledge of the flaws in the community donation fund, noting that staff were directed to make no reference to auctions when filling out documentation.
The court heard emails had been deleted regarding payment and invoices, with some items recorded as personal property, and some items stored at his home until the CCC investigation occurred.
Mr Gett described Antoniolli's evidence at trial as "largely self-serving, contrived in matters of importance", and evasive.
Mr Gett said he did find the former mayor and councillor to be genuinely emotional in relation to some matters such as Ipswich West Special School and his background of being community minded.
He also noted, however, some of Antoniolli's demeanour in court appeared rehearsed, and that some lacked a ring of truth.
The fraud offences Antoniolli is now convicted of involved charity auctions at dinners for groups such as Christian Religious Instruction Network, National Trust; Domestic Violence Action Centre, The Red and White Foundation; Young Life Australia, Ipswich Cares, and Ipswich Hospice.
Mr Gett said Yellow Jersey bike store owner Troy Dobinson gave confused evidence regarding a $3200 bicycle donated for fundraising at the Red and White Foundation gala ball.
He said Mr Dobinson appeared to be "a reluctant and nervous" witness, giving inconsistent evidence that the bike Antoniolli later collected was not related to the prior auction.
In his evidence Antoniolli said the bike was gifted by Mr Dobinson in the understanding he would act as a cycling ambassador for Ipswich.
An email was sent to Antoniolli by the foundation indicating he was the winner of the bike.
A council staffer later said she was uncomfortable when processing the community donation request form.
Antoniolli's solicitor Dan Rogers successfully applied for the sentence to be adjourned until July 30, to be delivered by a Brisbane magistrate.
Antoniolli remains on bail.
As he and his wife walked from the Ipswich Courthouse they were swamped by media crews, with Antoniolli staying silent when barraged with questions.