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Four charges upheld in County Court appeal by Chris Healy

The County Court has upheld the conviction of former Murrindindi Shire councillor Chris Healy on four charges of misuse of position.

Judge Paul Higham handed down the decision today (20 September 2019) after hearing the appeal on 9-10 September in Melbourne’s County Court. One charge was dismissed and the remaining four charges were found to be proven.

The matters have been adjourned for sentencing in the County Court on Monday 21 October.

The original decision was handed down on 10 October 2018 at Shepparton Magistrates Court, where Mr Healy was convicted on all five charges. In that court, Mr Healy was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $20,000 in prosecution legal costs.

As a former councillor, on five separate occasions, Mr Healy attempted to gain an advantage by making improper use of information, acquired while a councillor, regarding Murrindindi Shire’s proposed rating strategy.

The court heard that Mr Healy was privy to information on the potential tenderers for a rating strategy review, which he used on five occasions in 2012 to make written and oral submissions to council and a local trader and tourism representative group. As a ratepayer of three commercial properties in Eildon, Mr Healy’s actions were undertaken to gain an advantage to improve his personal situation.  

The Inspectorate began its investigation in March 2015 and charged Mr Healy in April 2017 in relation to alleged misuse of position under section 76D(1) of the Local Government Act 1989.

Chief Municipal Inspector David Wolf said: “It is important that any person who holds or has held the office of councillor does not misuse information they are privy to for personal gain. This finding supports the integrity expectations for the office of councillor.”