Former Fraser Coast Regional Council mayor, Chris Loft has been convicted on a computer misuse-related charge in the Hervey Bay Magistrate’s Court. File photo: Alistair Brightman.
Former Fraser Coast Regional Council mayor, Chris Loft has been convicted on a computer misuse-related charge in the Hervey Bay Magistrate’s Court. File photo: Alistair Brightman.

'No evidence': Final twist in Chris Loft court saga

JAILED former Fraser Coast mayor, Chris Loft illegally gave his son access to official council emails.

This emerged in Hervey Bay Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, where Loft earlier pleaded guilty to computer hacking and the misuse of a council device.

Magistrate Stephen Guttridge heard Loft had given his son access to his council iPad to avoid running up extensive data costs while overseas on official business.

Loft's lawyer, Angelo Venardos, submitted that his client had asked his son to check his emails and forward any of specific importance.

"Identified emails were to be sent to me, as his lawyer," Mr Venardos said.

Mr Venardos told the court he was unaware of the arrangement and that no emails had come through during the time Loft had asked his son to access the device.

He explained Loft's son was only given access to his emails and was unable to access the council's mainframe.

Loft appeared in court via video link from the Capricornia Correctional Centre, north of Rockhampton.

Wearing his dark green and brown prison uniform, Loft cut a forlorn figure on the big screen in Courtroom One.

He is currently serving a 12-month sentence after being convicted in district court of misconduct for using his position to appoint a former campaign manager to a new role within council.

The sentence was suspended for six months.

Mr Venardos submitted that the iPad misuse was a minor offence

"He had honest intentions, but unknowingly broke the law," Mr Venardos said.

Mr Guttridge agreed it was a small-scale crime and noted the soon-to-be 69-year-old was already serving a prison sentence in relation to the misconduct charge heard in the district court.

He convicted Loft but did not impose further punishment.

A conviction was recorded.

Meanwhile, police prosecutor Michael Ruddiman offered no evidence on a secrecy-related charge against Loft.

The charge was dropped.


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