Stalking trial: Petros accuses Lauga MP of political cover-up
PETROS Khalesirad and his lawyers are on a fishing expedition.
This was the submission of a lawyer representing major corporate company Hutchinson Builders.
Khalesirad appeared in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court today as his legal representatives battle to get information released by Hutchinson Builders.
Khalesirad's lawyer Greg McGuire said the documents requested will assist their defence case against stalking charges associated with Keppel MP Brittany Lauga.
Mrs Lauga claims between February 20 and August 27, 2016, she was the victim of fixation by Khalesirad who allegedly harassed and threatened her over electronic devices.
Mr McGuire told court Khalesirad and Mrs Lauga had both been part of Our Keppel Our Future and had been friends when she was involved with OKOF.
He said when Mrs Lauga voted against a boutique license for the Great Keppel Island redevelopment project proposed by Tower Holdings, Khalesirad started a public campaign which asked questions via social media about Mrs Lauga and her husband Wayne's dealings with Hutchinson Builders.
Mr Lauga had worked for Hutchison Builders for six years up until February 22, 2016 after a mental health breakdown. It was through this company the couple were building their home which was originally quoted to cost about $600,000.
However, the actual cost of the house was $250,000 more - revealed after Mr Lauga's resignation.
The court heard two different explanations for the extra cost - one which Mr McGuire claimed Mrs Lauga told Khalesirad on March 29 in a conversation and another Mr McGuire claims Mrs Lauga referred to in an email to Hutchinson Builders Managing Director Greg Quinn.
Mr McGuire said Mrs Lauga told Khalesirad in a conversation on March 29 the debt arose as part of the building costs and materials that had been covered under employee 'incentives and domestic schemes' all Hutchison Builder employees had access to, however, that had to be paid back to the company after the resignation.
The second 'explanation' for the debt Mr McGuire referred to during proceedings was from an email Mrs Lauga sent to Mr Quinn after she met with him at the Rockhampton Airport on March 20.
Mr McGuire said Mrs Lauga referred to the extra $250,000 accumulating from "scope changes of construction of dwelling" including "change in floor coverings and extra labour".
The court heard the Laugas and Hutchinson Builders had reached a settlement whereby the Lauga's would pay back the $250,000 over a six-year period, interest free with no security put down.
Khalesirad's legal team today were seeking documents showing discussions between the Laugas and Hutchinsons about the loan terms and notes from meetings in February 2016 that would show Mrs Lauga knew about the debt prior to Mr Lauga's resignation.
Mr McGuire alleged Mrs Lauga had the stalking charges laid to "shut down the scrutiny of a member of parliament" and that she had something to hide.
"After all, if it arose from theft, it would be particularly politically embarrassing as she was one of the beneficiaries of it. Hence it's importance to Mr Khalesirad's trial," he said.
"Arguably, it was a matter of public importance. Hutchinson Builders have a relationship with government. Mrs Lauga was a member of the incumbent minority government.
"There's a potential for a union such as the CFMEU to wreak havoc on Hutchinson if they damaged the standing of the government.
"Hutchinson Builders are doing 'nothing' through their lawyers," Mr McGuire said.
"We know the quantity of the debt and Mrs Lauga did whatever she could to keep it quiet."
Hutchinson Builders' lawyer Dale Cliff said Hutchinson Builders struggled to understand the relevance of the information being sought by Khalesirad's team to the stalking charges.
He requested the summons Khalesirad's team had issued on Hutchinson Builder's chief financial officer Owen Valmadre be set aside, outlining that Mr Valmadre doesn't have the documents requested and would not know where they were.
"He wouldn't even know what they look like," Mr Cliff said.
He added the wording on the summons was 'vague', requesting all documents Hutchinson Builders have in relation to Wayne Lauga, including personnel files about his mental health issues and documents that relate to agents of Hutchinson Builders that Mr Lauga dealt with which would include subcontractors and real estate agents.
Mr Cliff said he had made attempts to 'narrow the scope' of documents being requested with Khalesirad's lawyers before court proceedings today but had no luck.
He said also discussed the relevancy to the stalking matter of many types of documents - including in relation to Mr Lauga's mental health - in the request and had only discovered some of the alleged relevancy during this court sitting.
"There is no document discussing interest or security (of the loan)," Mr Cliff told the court.
He said Hutchinson Builders could provide documentation about the scope of the construction of the Lauga's house.
Mr Cliff said in relation to the 'theft' allegation, that was not how Hutchinson Builders viewed the situation.
He said it was not unusual for house building costs to blow out.
"They're fishing," Mr Cliff said. "Fishing is not permitted under the auspicious of a summons."
Magistrate Cameron Press adjourned the matter until Tuesday when he is expected to deliver his decision about the summons.