A committal hearing into fraud charges against Luke Smith and seven ex-councillors has heard from Smith’s ex-wife.
A committal hearing into fraud charges against Luke Smith and seven ex-councillors has heard from Smith’s ex-wife.

Former mayor’s ex-wife questioned in court

THE ex-wife of a former Logan mayor who is facing fraud and misconduct in public office charges, has appeared at his committal hearing as a Crown witness.

Andrea Millberry, ex-wife of Luke Smith, was not cross-examined by Smith's counsel, but she was asked questions by a barrister for former Logan deputy mayor Cherie Dalley.

Ms Dalley and ex-councillors Russell Lutton, Steven Swenson, Laurence Smith, Phil Pidgeon, Trevina Schwarz and Jennie Breene are each charged with fraud.

The charges, which are being defended, relate to the sacking of former Logan chief executive officer Sharon Kelsey in early 2018.

The committal hearing also heard what Luke Smith told a consultant about Ms Kelsey, for an independent report on her performance as CEO during her probationary period.

Chris Smith, counsel for Dalley, questioned Ms Millberry about her knowledge of what Mr Smith told her of a meeting between him, Dalley and Ms Kelsey, about the probation report on the CEO.

Andrea Millberry leaves the Magistrates Court in Brisbane. Ms Millberry has given evidence in the trial of her ex-husband and former Logan Council mayor Luke Smith, who is facing fraud charges. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Andrea Millberry leaves the Magistrates Court in Brisbane. Ms Millberry has given evidence in the trial of her ex-husband and former Logan Council mayor Luke Smith, who is facing fraud charges. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

 

Ms Millberry agreed she was told by her then husband that Ms Kelsey had stormed out of the meeting after 10 minutes.

She confirmed that she heard Smith talking to Dalley on the phone about them trying to get Ms Kelsey to come back for a further talk.

Ms Millberry agreed there were two distinct factions of councillors within Logan Council at that time, divided between the mayor's "power councillor'' voting block and those who voted with Darren Power.

 

Rachel Hunter. Picture: Dan Peled
Rachel Hunter. Picture: Dan Peled

Rachel Hunter, who prepared the report on Ms Kelsey's probation period, after interviewing councillors and staff, gave evidence about what Luke Smith said about the CEO.

In a November 13, 2017 interview, Smith told her Ms Kelsey was not impressive.

Ms Hunter said the mayor was concerned that Ms Kelsey did not like being challenged or criticised and she was not as effective a communicator as he would have liked.

She said the mayor said Ms Kelsey did not take well to contrary advice, she was "controlling'' and she was not prepared to own a decision when it was wrong.

"He said his first impression was very positive, but he subsequently formed a view that the CEO was quite rigid and she acted without consultation,'' Ms Hunter said.

Lisa Bradley. Picture: Dan Peled
Lisa Bradley. Picture: Dan Peled


Ms Hunter said the mayor told her at an executive team management meeting, Ms Kelsey described the council culture by saying "It was as though the organisation has been an abused child''.

Ms Hunter said Smith never told her the CEO had complained to the Crime and Corruption Commission about him.

Logan councillors Lisa Bradley and Jon Raven, who each admitted to secretly recording other councillors at meetings, also were cross-examined on Wednesday.

It is not illegal to record private conversations without consent in Queensland if you are a party to the conversation.

The hearing continues.

Originally published as Former Logan mayor's ex-wife questioned



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