Former Labor staffer Justin Mammarella outside the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court. Picture: The Australian
Former Labor staffer Justin Mammarella outside the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court. Picture: The Australian

Labor figures to stand trial over printing rorts scandal

Three Labor figures have been committed to stand trial over an alleged printing rorts scandal.

Former Melton Labor candidate Justin Mammarella and his father Robert will have to wait until October 2020 to continue their fight against allegations they attempted to cover up their use of taxpayer-funded resources for the junior Mr Mammarella's preselection campaign in 2017.

The Mammarellas, along with electorate officer Angela Scarpaci, have been charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice and perjury.

A fourth man, Jeffrey O'Donnell, has pleaded guilty to the charges and will front the County Court later this year for a plea hearing.

It comes as a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court this week heard evidence Robert Mammarella gave an electorate officer "strict instructions" never to report anything to her boss, former MP Khalil Eideh.

Robert Mammarella will also stand trial. Picture: David Smith
Robert Mammarella will also stand trial. Picture: David Smith

A former staff member said she defied Mr Mammarella's instructions and raised her concerns about excessive office spending directly to Mr Eideh.

The Mammarella's and Ms Scarpaci are accused of misleading the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission who were investigating claims of "fraudulent practices and false invoicing" at Mr Edieh's Cairnlea electorate office prompted by reporting in the Herald Sun.

Prosecutor Peter Pickering said the group had fabricated evidence and influenced witness during a three-month investigation which included covert phone taps.

During Tuesday's committal hearing, former electorate officer Sarah Tawil said she had raised concerns of "excessive expenses" for printing costs with Mr Eideh.

Ms Tawil, who had worked at Mr Eideh's office for almost 10 years, said she voiced her concerns with him despite Robert Mammarella, who was office manager, instructing her not to.

"The way Robert wanted it to work was that he would report up to Khalil about any issues," Ms Tawil said in a statement.

Angela Scarpaci (right) will also front court. Picture: AAP Image/James Ross
Angela Scarpaci (right) will also front court. Picture: AAP Image/James Ross

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In a witness statement, she said it appeared Justin Mammarella was running preselection campaign from the Cairnlea office.

IBAC carried out raids on the office as part of the Operation Naxos probe last year, seizing stamped envelopes addressed to Melton branch members.

The accused allegedly misled IBAC by claiming the envelopes were meant for a "mail out for Autism Plus", a controversial disability service provider.

Court documents reveal Ms Scarpaci had attempted to remove the envelopes during the raid but was stopped by security.

Ms Tawil said she believed the envelopes were to be used in a mail-out for Justin Mammarella's preselection campaign.

The trial will be held in the County Court in October next year.

genevieve.alison@news.com.au



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