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Burke corruption charges thrown out of court -

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Burke corruption charges thrown out of court

Broadcast: 10/05/2010

Reporter: Claire Krol

All corruption charges against the former Western Australia premier Brian Burke, former Labor
minister Julian Grill and a former senior public servant have been thrown out in the Supreme Court
in Perth.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: From London to Perth now, and the former West Australian premier Brian
Burke, his business partner Julian Grill and a former senior public servant have all walked free
from the Supreme Court after a judge threw out a series of corruption charges against them.

The men fought back tears as they accused the Corruption and Crime Commission of engaging in a
witch hunt and said their reputations and careers had been irrevocably damaged.

Claire Krol reports from Perth.

CLAIRE KROL, REPORTER: A relieved, but visibly upset Brian Burke walked free from court, four years
after a CCC investigation into his dealings with public servants began.

BRIAN BURKE, FORMER WA PREMIER: This has cost me and my family hundreds of thousands of dollars,
great stress and great anguish.

CLAIRE KROL: Just minutes earlier, Supreme Court judge Michael Murray dismissed four corruption
charges against Mr Burke and one-time Labor MP Julian Grill.

The pair were working as lobbyists for a pearling company in 2006 and were accused of procuring
confidential information from Nathan Hondras, who was the chief-of-staff to the then Fisheries
minister Jon Ford.

A charge of disclosing official information against Mr Hondras was also thrown out.

The ABC has obtained a recording of a conversation between Mr Burke and Mr Grill about a private
meeting to be held with Mr Hondras without the Fisheries Minister's knowledge.

"The chief of staff for the minister wants to meet us on Monday."

"Wants to meet us?"

"Yeah. He wants to do it while the minister's in Cabinet."

CLAIRE KROL: Justice Murray told the court the prosecution had failed to provide enough evidence
that any of the men had acted improperly or corruptly.

JULIAN GRILL, LOBBYIST: Because I live in this state and my wife lives in this state and my
children live in this state. And I want to be able to walk down the street here and say, "I am an
honest person. I do behave properly. I do behave legally."

NATHAN HONDROS, FORMER PUBLIC SERVANT: To be found innocent at this stage I think vindicates me. I
feel relieved and I look forward to putting this all behind me.

CLAIRE KROL: The charges were laid by the Corruption and Crime Commission following an
investigation into lobbyists' links with senior public servants.

But the matter was thrown out before the defence had even begun its case.

Mr Burke says the Commission has an axe to grind and he and his business partner are being made
scapegoats.

BRIAN BURKE: The CCC thought it would make its reputation by claiming my scalp.

CLAIRE KROL: But Mr Burke's courtroom battles with the CCC aren't over yet. He's due to face court
again in August, this time charged with receiving official information from a senior public servant
with the then Department of Industry and Resources.

Claire Krol, Lateline.