As a result of having lodged an appeal, Orange councillor Scott Ian Munro will still be able to stand for the upcoming election despite being convicted of giving misleading information about a political donation.
Magistrate David Day convicted the 57-year-old, from Baldry, in Orange Local Court on Wednesday for giving the misleading information about a donation from a greyhound industry lobby group toward his independent campaign for the state seat of Orange in the 2016 by-election.
"In my view that even though it falls below mid-range I found it was knowingly dishonest," Mr Day said.
"He wasn't a novice, he had been involved in electoral funding matters before."
Mr Day said the disclosure requirements for donors and recipients was about ensuring confidence in the electoral system and making sure interest groups could not buy an election.
"There needs to be public denunciation of the conduct with a view to general deterrence, they must account for their funds," Mr Day said.
Both the defence and prosecution said a conviction would make Munro ineligible to stand for the upcoming local government election and barrister Stephen Russell said Munro, a former butcher, would also lose his real estate licence.
Mr Day found Munro guilty following a trial in May and said those issues would be a "consequence of a conviction" and were not something he could take into account during the sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
Mr Day convicted Munro and fined him $2500, part of which would go to the NSW Electoral Commission as a moiety. Mr Day also awarded $5000 in costs be awarded to the prosecution for each charge totalling $10,000.
He wasn't a novice, he had been involved in electoral funding matters before.Magistrate David Day
Mr Russell confirmed Munro will appeal the magistrate's decision saying the paperwork was being filed with the District Court on Thursday morning ensuring he can stand for the upcoming election on December 4.
"Once the appeal is lodged the sentence of the magistrate is stayed," Mr Russell said.
The false information related to $2600 donated by the United NSW Greyhound Industry Fighting Fund Trust, set up in response to dog racing's temporary ban in 2016. That money was listed as a personal contribution when it should have been listed as a reportable donation, as it was more than $1000.
The $2600 donation was the maximum allowed for an independent candidate and was the only reportable donation Munro received. It appeared on a bank statement for his electoral account that was sent to his Baldry address.
During the trial, the NSW Electoral Commission accused Munro of giving misleading information to his electoral agent, Karen Romano, which led to the false declaration. He was also accused of failing to provide a receipt.
Although Mrs Romano was a signatory, the statement was not sent to her or the electoral office. She said during the trial she was not aware of the greyhound fund's donation until she saw the bank statement, which only contained the fund's acronym.
Mrs Romano was not prosecuted and on Wednesday, Munro was cross examined under oath about a visit he made to Wentworth Park to meet with greyhound industry stakeholders as part of his election campaign.
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Munro said he was told at the end of the meeting they had some money from a fighting fund they could put towards his electoral campaign. Prosecutor Georgia Lewer also presented a copy of an email Munro sent to Brenton Scott from the greyhound industry lobby group asking for funds after the meeting but before the funds were sent.
While under oath, Munro also touched on his background and work as a butcher and sense of achievement in getting his real estate licence and becoming an agency licensee despite having a limited education after leaving school at the age of 14.
Mr Day said the trial and sentence were based on a former electoral act that was in place at the time.
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