Former Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli arrives at Ipswich Courthouse with wife Karina.
Former Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli arrives at Ipswich Courthouse with wife Karina. Rob Williams

Antoniolli secretary 'uncomfortable' with alleged bike deal

A SECRETARY in Andrew Antoniolli's office for more than a decade has recalled feeling uncomfortable allegedly using council funds to pay for a bike "won" by her old boss.

Lindsey Denman worked in Mr Antoniolli's office while he was a councillor for division seven.

Ms Denman job shared with Sharon Williams in the division seven office from 2004 until their boss became mayor in August 2017.

Both appeared as witnesses for the prosecution in the trial of Mr Antoniolli, held in the Ipswich Magistrates Court.

The court heard Ms Williams and Ms Denman sent emails between community groups and Mr Antoniolli's division seven electorate office.

Ms Denman recalled part of her role was to send forms to groups so they could request a council-funded community donation.

She recalled receiving an email in June 2016 from the Red and White Foundation notifying her Mr Antoniolli was the winner of "a lovely bike at a recent Red and White Gala Ball".

Mrs Denman said she responded with an attached council community donation form.

"I felt rather uncomfortable when I initially read that email… when it talks about payment being made for the bike," Ms Denman said.

Crown Prosecutor Sarah Farnden then showed Ms Denman a photograph of a silver Trek bike.

The witness confirmed she had seen that bicycle in the division seven office.

"After that email (from the foundation), there was a bike a few weeks after that email," Ms Denman said. "Andrew would ride it into the office."

Defence barrister Peter Callaghan later disputed the time between the email and the bike arriving.

He suggested Ms Denman's "mind was playing tricks" and it was several months between the events.

Ms Williams told the court she had knowledge of Mr Antoniolli buying auction items, including pamper packs. "They weren't delivered to the office," she said.

The court heard words and previous emails between community groups and Mr Antoniolli's office were deleted before they were sent to the council's community development branch for donations approval.

On one occasion the court was shown an email sent in 2012 from Mr Antoniolli's office to the council branch.

An earlier email chain between Mr Antoniolli's office and Ipswich Hospice, which referenced payment for a ladies pamper pack, had been removed.

"I don't recall removing it, obviously I have," Ms Williams told the court. "I would have no reason to do it without being told to."

Ms Williams said "it would have been Andrew" who suggested she removed part of an email.

The trial of the former mayor, who faces 12 fraud charges and one attempted fraud charge, is in its second day.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Magistrate Anthony Gett has indicated at the end of today the trial will adjourn until Monday.

Mr Callaghan said matters had arisen since the start of the trial the defence needed time to consider.

The defence indicated Mr Antoniolli would take the stand next week, where he is also expected to face cross examination.

The trial continues this afternoon.