Antoniolli trial: Former mayor enters plea in fraud case

ONE charge has been dropped and another amended as former Ipswich mayor Andrew Antoniolli stands trial relating to his purchase of auction items.

After a day delay, the trial of Mr Antoniolli started in the Ipswich Magistrates Court this morning.

Crown Prosecutor Sarah Farnden told the court the prosecution would drop one of the fraud charges and amend another to attempted fraud.

Mr Antoniolli will stand trial on 12 charges of fraud and one of attempted fraud.

It is alleged he dishonestly used a sum of money belonging to Ipswich City Council on 12 occasions.

On the final charge it is alleged Mr Antoniolli attempted to dishonestly use a sum of money belonging to the council.

Mr Antoniolli told the court "I am not guilty your honour".

The court heard the alleged offending took place between 2005 and 2017 - when Mr Antoniolli was the councillor for division seven - and centred around his use of the council's Community Donations Policy.

It is alleged Mr Antoniolli bought several items at charity auctions including a ladies pamper pack, a bicycle, phantom cartoon pack, a painting and a gym membership.

The court heard Mr Antoniolli then requested charity groups apply through his office for a community donation for the value of the items.

It has been alleged Mr Antoniolli's office staff, with his approval, forwarded groups a community donation request sheet. This sheet, once completed by the community group, would be forwarded to the council's community development branch for payment approval.

Ms Fardnen said there was no mention the donation was for auction items on the request for approval form.

It is alleged council money was used to pay the community groups while Mr Antoniolli kept some of the auction items.

Defence barrister Peter Callaghan said the items were kept at within the premises of the council.

He said there was no suggesting any money went into an account managed by Mr Antoniolli.

The trial is ongoing.

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