5 Nov 2014
The New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption has taken on premiers, ministers and billionaire businessmen. But is its decision to go after the state’s most high profile Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cuneen a step too far? Ms Cuneen says she’s been the target of a malicious complaint involving her private life. She launched a challenge in the New South Wales supreme Court today calling for the ICAC inquiry to be shut down.
Source: PM | Duration: 4min 59sec
Topics: law-crime-and-justice, corruption, nsw, australia
MARK COLVIN: There’s often been applause for the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) as it’s taken on premiers, ministers and billionaire businessmen.
But is its decision to go after the state’s most high profile Crown prosecutor, Margaret Cunneen, a step too far?
Many in the New South Wales legal fraternity seem to think so.
Margaret Cunneen herself says she’s been the target of a malicious lie. She launched a challenge in the New South Wales Supreme Court today, calling for the inquiry to be shut down because the ICAC had exceeded its powers.
Deborah Cornwall was in court to listen to the preliminary arguments before the hearing gets underway tomorrow.
She joins me now. So what happened at today’s hearing?
DEBORAH CORNWALL: Well Mark, this challenge to the ICAC is quite different to anything we’ve seen in the past, because Margaret Cunneen’s barrister, Arthur Moses SC, is actually calling on the ICAC to make itself accountable about the way it uses its extraordinary powers.
And his argument is that if the ICAC effectively are accusing Margaret Cunneen of perverting the course of justice, then it better have a very good reason for trashing her reputation.
And his central point is that it appears the ICAC have gone after Margaret Cunneen because of her position as a public prosecutor – yet the allegations involve a very private matter.