Lawyers acting for Peter Slipper have argued it wasn’t unusual for the former Speaker to pay for trips at the end of daily travel and pay for them manually.
It wasn’t unusual for Peter Slipper to keep a tab of daily travel, and the former parliamentary Speaker sometimes used manual dockets to pay for trips, his lawyers have told a Canberra magistrate.
Slipper, a former Queensland Nationals and Liberal MP, is charged with misusing about $900 worth of CabCharge vouchers to visit wineries near Canberra on three separate occasions in the first half of 2010.
The prosecution alleges Slipper manually filled out multiple vouchers for the journeys to hide the non-parliamentary nature of the trips – one of which involved several stops at wineries over 4.5 hours.
His defence team claims it wasn’t unusual for Slipper to pay for trips at the end of daily travel and pay for them manually instead of electronically.
After lengthy legal argument during his trial in the ACT Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, Slipper’s defence was allowed to submit some new evidence to prove his tendency to do so.
Not all their evidence was allowed.
Slipper admits to hiring the cars and paying with multiple, manual dockets but says he didn’t behave dishonestly.
On at least one occasion Slipper had attended a parliamentary function as part of the travel, the court was told.
Detective Sergeant Michael Turner – who was in charge of the investigation – told the court several other car trips were investigated but no charges were laid.
In June, Slipper’s lawyers argued the charges should be dismissed under the Mental Health Act due to his state of mind.
The court was told that his life had spiralled into one of despair as a result of criminal allegations but it ruled the trial go ahead for the sake of public interest.
MPs and senators are allowed only to use government funds to pay for official or parliamentary travel.