Former Speaker Peter Slipper must wait a little longer to hear a decision on the appeal of his conviction for misusing travel entitlements.
Former federal Speaker Peter Slipper has become such a “pathetic character” since his fall from grace that a prison sentence would be inappropriate, his defence lawyer says.
Slipper must wait a little longer to find out if he will be jailed for dishonestly using government-issued taxi vouchers after Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker adjourned the case until 1pm (AEST) on Wednesday.
The former Queensland MP was convicted by the ACT Magistrate’s Court in July after he used the vouchers to visit vineyards outside Canberra in 2010.
He is appealing against the conviction.
In a two-hour sentence hearing on Monday, the prosecution argued Slipper must be sent to prison, while his lawyer Kylie Weston-Scheuber argued he has already paid a high enough price due to his “well-publicised fall from grace”.
Slipper is estranged from his wife, has lost his employment, his health, many friends and his good standing in the community, Dr Weston-Scheuber said.
She added he had spent time in private mental facilities as a result of the court case.
“He has become somewhat of a pathetic, socially withdrawn character,” Dr Weston-Scheuber told the court.
Slipper previously admitted using his government travel entitlements to visit the vineyards on three separate occasions in 2010, racking up $954 in expenses.
But he always denied he acted dishonestly.
Dr Weston-Scheuber described the incidents as “a little bad” in an otherwise unblemished 20-year career in politics.
However, prosecutor Lionel Robberds QC said Slipper had failed to show contrition.
“The defendant is refusing to accept he committed these crimes,” he said.
Mr Robberds said the only appropriate sentence was imprisonment.
While it was expected that a sentence would be handed down on Monday, Ms Walker said the two submissions could not be more different and she needed time to “carefully consider” her decision.