‘Should never have been charged’: Former officers not guilty
UPDATE 6PM: Craig Maudsley, the former chief operating officer for works, parks, and recreation at Ipswich City Council, has been found not guilty of misconduct, hours after a jury also found fellow former council officer Ben Hayward not guilty of the same offence.
Mr Maudsley and Mr Hayward faced trial this week after pleading not guilty to the charges, which they have strenuously denied throughout the legal process.
Mr Maudsley declined to comment after the verdict was delivered.
EARLIER: FORMER Ipswich City Council officer Ben Hayward has been found not guilty of committing misconduct while in public office.
A jury returned the verdict on Wednesday when Judge Brad Farr SC directed the panel that it must find Mr Hayward not guilty of the offence.
Judge Farr made the direction after prosecutor Noel Needham completed all evidence in the Crown case.
Ben Hayward, 39, the former executive officer to Mayor Paul Pisasale, had maintained his innocence through his defence barrister Stephen Kissick and instructing solicitor Michael Kelly.
Judge Farr dismissed the charge and Mr Hayward left the courtroom where his wife had been an observer during the trial this week.
The case evolved around $10,000 paid by ICC in 2017 to the operator of an Ipswich sports event the International Legends of League Pty - a private business.
Speaking afterwards outside the court, Mr Hayward said he should never have been charged and the matter should not have proceeded as far as it did.
"It was the right outcome. Just took a long time to get it," he said.
Mr Hayward said it had personally been very stressful for his family but he received strong support from friends and former ICC work colleagues.
"It has tarnished my reputation in the community but not to the people who know me. I should never have been charged," he said.
Mr Hayward resigned his position with the council of his own choosing and is now employed in the private sector.
Asked by the Queensland Times if he would ever consider working for Ipswich City Council again - Mr Hayward simply said - "Not in a million years".
"I don't ever want to give them another day of my life".
On Wednesday afternoon the trial of his former ICC colleague Craig Maudsley concluded on a single charge of committing misconduct in public office at Ipswich City Council between August 2, 2016 and July 20, 2017. It relates to doing an act or making an omission.
Just before 5pm the jury returned its verdict of not guilty.
In the dock he maintained his solemn demeanor but was seen to smile briefly when he thanked one of his legal representatives.
Mr Maudsley was asked for comment outside the court but did not.