Former union boss loses appeal over documents

A FORMER union boss, who was found guilty last year of destroying tonnes of documents that might have been needed at a royal commission, has lost his appeal against conviction.

Dave Hanna, a former Labor powerbroker, was given a supsended nine-month jail sentence in December and released on a two-year good behaviour bond for the 2014 offence.

Hanna, former state president of the CFMEU, appealed against the conviction on the one ground that the jury verdict was unreasonable and could not be supported by the evidence.

He was the first person to be convicted at trial of document destruction under the federal royal commission legislation.

Former union boss Dave Hanna at court in Brisbane earlier this year. Picture: Darren England/AAP
Former union boss Dave Hanna at court in Brisbane earlier this year. Picture: Darren England/AAP

The jury found Hanna arranged for two union employees to take truckloads of boxes from his Bowen Hills union office to his home in April, 2014, asking for office cameras to be covered up.

It was the same day he was sent an urgent notice for production of paperwork for the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

Hanna told staffers to burn the documents, but when that was not successful, he called a truck to take the papers to an Ipswich garbage tip.

Hanna's defence claimed the clean-up coincided with a merger and the cameras were covered to protect workers' rights.

"The jury could not have been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was aware of a substantial risk that the documents or other things were or may be required in evidence before a Commission,'' his appeal application said.

In the Court of Appeal, Justice Thomas Bradley said Hanna was aware of the royal commission and of a wide scope notice requiring production of CFMEU documents dating back to January 1, 2007.

"He was aware that the documents he was directing be destroyed were documents of the CFMEU and its divisions and branches, including documents in boxes brought from the BLF office,'' Justice Bradley said.

"This knowledge was sufficient to satisfy the jury, beyond reasonable doubt, that he was aware of a real possibility, chance or likelihood that some of the documents may be required in evidence by the Royal Commission.''

The jury was entitled to draw an inference from other evidence that Hanna was aware of a substantial risk some documents might have been required in evidence by the commission.

The judge pointed to the timing of Hanna's instructions to destroy the evidence and his direction to another person to cover up CCTV cameras while the destruction was under way.

He also said there was an unusual method of destruction initially directed by Hanna and an apparent urgency of the process.

Justice Bradley said the jury could be satisfied Hanna took an unjustifiable risk in directing the destruction of the documents at a rubbish disposal site, without any examination of them.

The appeal was unanimously dismissed by three appeal court judges.

In February, Hanna was sentenced to six years in jail after being found guilty of raping a woman he had met at a Brisbane bar.

Earlier this month Hanna was found guilty by a District Court jury of corruptly receiving $300,000 in free work from tradies at his Logan home.

He was sentenced to an additional two years in prison and will be eligible for parole in February, 2023.