Keppel MP Brittany Lauga leaving the Rockhampton courthouse after giving evidence in the trial against accused stalker Petros Khalesirad.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga leaving the Rockhampton courthouse after giving evidence in the trial against accused stalker Petros Khalesirad. Kerri-Anne Mesner

SHOCKER: Lauga's trial reveals house debt blow-out

KEPPEL MP Brittany Lauga revealed yesterday in court was the first time she had become aware of an email to her husband by his now former boss questioning a $273,000 discrepancy in the construction of the couple's home.

Prior to this she thought the amount owed was about $250,000.

The email, partially read out in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court during the trial of Petros Khalesirad, who is accused of unlawfully stalking Mrs Lauga, was written by Wayne Lauga's now former boss - Hutchinson Builders managing director Greg Quinn - on February 12, 2016.

Mrs Lauga, who this week was promoted to Assistant Minister for Education, claims that between February 20 and August 27, 2016, she was the victim of a fixation by Mr Khalesirad who allegedly harassed and threatened her over electronic devices.

In August, when the trial started, Mrs Lauga told the court she felt "terrified" by the conduct of Mr Khalesirad.

Mrs Lauga claimed he posted pictures of her house showing her address on his public Facebook page.

"I was terrified. It was scary to think someone can publish my address. It caused me great anxiety for a long time. And still does," she said in a previous court appearance.

"He has created a narrative about me and it is the same one he has gone on with.

"There were dozens upon dozens of posts, daily."

The court previously heard the Laugas' new home was meant to cost around the $600,000 mark, however it ran grossly over this amount - a scenario that Mr Khalesirad labelled a "dirty little secret" online.

"My client was attempting to expose this matter, that's why you were terrified. You were trying to shut him up about him going on about Hutchinson Builders," Khalesirad's lawyer Greg McGuire said in August.

 

Accused stalker Petros Khalesirad leaving the Rockhampton Court house.
Accused stalker Petros Khalesirad leaving the Rockhampton Court house. Chris Ison ROK231117cpetros3

Mr McGuire yesterday alleged the contents of the email from Mr Quinn to Mr Lauga on February 12, 2016, suggested Hutchinson Builders were accusing Mr Lauga of fraud or theft.

The email said "regardless how much I want to accept your version of events, the facts do not align" and that Mr Quinn could only conclude "something terribly untoward" had taken place.

The court heard Mr Quinn indicated in his email that he may have to order an independent audit regarding the matter and that "either way, the matter will become very public".

"In my entire career, I have never had to deal with anything as concerning as this," Mr Quinn said in the email.

The court heard Mr Lauga suffered a major mental health breakdown four days later and resigned from Hutchinson on February 22.

Mrs Lauga met with Mr Quinn at the Rockhampton Airport on March 20.

She told the court that the discussion at the airport was mainly about Wayne's health and that she wanted to reiterate to Mr Quinn that the Laugas would pay back the money owed which she had been told by her husband was $250,000 in February 2016.

The following day, Mr Quinn wrote an email to Mrs Lauga and stated "If there's any way you think Hutchies can help to get Wayne back to good health, let me know".

Mr Khalesirad has previously argued that he questioned the discrepancy in the cost to build the Laugas' house as a matter of public interest.

Hutchinson Builders two weeks ago was ordered by Magistrate Cameron Press, who is presiding over the case, to supply certain documents to the courthouse in a sealed envelope to consider their relevance to the case.

Those documents included correspondence about the construction cost over run, notes from meetings believed to have taken place in February 2016, Wayne Lauga's personnel files and a list of what was included in the cost over run for construction of the Lauga house.

Mrs Lauga was also questioned about the cost over run list which she told the court her husband had shown to her yesterday morning before she resumed giving evidence.

She said she was surprised at its contents, which the court heard included $20,000 to $30,000 of the $273,000 over run had been attributed to labour costs.

Mr McGuire read through the cost over run list line by line with Mrs Lauga which included more than $12,000 in landscape works which had not been included in the $641,000 construction contract the Laugas signed with Hutchinson in 2014.

She said she thought the landscape works were being covered by Wayne's work bonus or other workplace incentives.

Mrs Lauga also said she was surprised to see $15,920 next to the name Large's which she assumed was Large's Furniture and Cabinet Makers for cabinet making works she thought was included in $641,000 construction cost.

She said she thought the figures (more than $6000) next to the word Tandy were for concreting.

The court heard the Laugas have yet to finalise the repayment specifics with Hutchinson but had started making repayments.

Mrs Lauga finished giving her evidence before the court adjourned for the day with the trial set to continue this morning.



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