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Sunday, February 3, 2013
Craig Thomson to make first court appearance on fraud charges
Craig Thomson faces 149 counts of fraud. Picture: Craig Greenhill Source: The Daily Telegraph
CRAIG Thomson has dropped his bid to delay his first court appearance on fraud charges because Parliament is sitting and he will now front a judge in Melbourne this week.
The MP, who faces 149 counts of fraud, had been advised that the Parliamentary Privileges Act exempts an MP from being arrested or appearing in court five days before or after Parliament sits.
The former Labor MP and union secretary, who is now an Independent, is facing charges over allegations he used union cash to pay for prostitutes, dinners, and election expenses.
Manager of opposition business Christopher Pyne said yesterday the Coalition was prepared to offer Mr Thomson a pair so he could attend court.
Mr Thomson's lawyer Chris McArdle, who has accused "goons in rubber gloves" from NSW correctional services of strip searching Mr Thomson, confirmed his client would not seek any further adjournments and will appear in court on Wednesday.
"The Parliamentary Privileges Act speaks for itself. Mr Thomson cannot be obliged to appear in court," Mr McArdle said.
"However, we do not want to be seen to be delaying this matter. Mr Thomson will appear on Wednesday because he is now satisfied that his constituents will not be prejudiced. That is because of the pair that has been offered by the Coalition."
Yesterday Mr Thomson was photographed allegedly driving erratically on his way to Sydney.
Mr McArdle said the media was harassing his client.
"That's all a big lie. He has contacted the Australian Federal Police to report the person who was frightening him," he said.