Judge Adam Cranston “deeply dissatisfied” with Attorney General Mark Dreyfus’ decision on fraud funding

The court heard steps were being taken to consider whether Cranston could have access to NSW Legal Aid and an application was pending. Wilson said he tried to contact them, but “they cited privacy concerns.”

Payne said he was “wordless.”

Left to right: Jason Onley, Adam Cranston, Lauren Cranston, Patrick Willmott and Dev Menon.

Left to right: Jason Onley, Adam Cranston, Lauren Cranston, Patrick Willmott and Dev Menon.Credit: Brook Mitchell, Oscar Colman, Rhett Wyman

“So the Commonwealth are going to pull out and what NSW Legal Aid is supposed to pick up on? Mr Cranston is not to be represented in the judgement? Is that seriously the position of the Commonwealth Attorney? [a $100 million fraud]?” he said.

When asked by the judge if a reason for the “remarkable change of position” had been given, May said that now that the sentencing against Cranston has begun, the funding of the sentencing “would not fall within the purposes of special circumstances”. He said the decision was made on May 1st.

Payne said the situation had raised “fundamental injustice” and suggested advising Dreyfus, “a judge of the NSW Supreme Court is deeply unhappy to be informed of this decision now”. He noted that two months had passed since the conviction.

He said former Attorney General Michaelia Cash had previously “intervened personally, to her great credit…” and continued funding for Cranston.

“I’m stunned… that you’re telling me the attorney [Dreyfus] made that decision personally,” Payne said.

“I think there is a significant public interest in exposing what happened in a very serious case in the workings of our criminal justice system.”

He said the cost to the community of letting someone else know about the long-running case was “astronomical”, and described the “tug of war” between the Commonwealth and States as “deeply unhelpful in a Commonwealth prosecution”.

Crown Attorney Paul McGuire, SC, for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, said he joined the judge in his response to fairness.


He said withdrawing funding could save the Commonwealth tens of thousands of dollars “in the 12th hour” when “that much money” has already been spent, calling the decision absurd.

“Nobody else, apart from lawyers who have been engaged for some time, can reasonably be expected to direct this,” McGuire said, adding that it would be “impossible for anyone to transmit the evidence several months from now.”

“Mr Cranston … should not, in fairness, be expected to stand for election [it] himself,” the prosecutor said.

The judge adjourned the matter until Tuesday.


“I hope this can be resolved by then,” he said.

The public prosecutor’s office was asked to comment.

Cranston’s school friend Patrick Willmott will be sentenced Friday for his role in the conspiracies, while attorney Dev Menon and former pro snowboarder Jason Onley face a conviction in June. All three men were found guilty of the same two charges as Cranston.

In condemning Lauren Cranston, Payne noted that Adam Cranston and Onley were “architects of the scheme” and Menon a “significant participant”.

The fraud scheme skimmed PAYG (pay as you go) withholding tax and GST from funds received from customers of payroll company Plutus Payroll, and the tax liability was held by second-tier companies.

Plutus and the eight second tier companies should have paid more than $141.3 million in PAYG and GST to the IRS between March 2014 and May 2017, but only $30.8 million was paid voluntarily and $4.7 million Dollars later seized, resulting in a $105 million embezzlement. The funds were used by conspirators for real estate, luxury cars, a boat and an airplane.

The Morning Edition Newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Login here.

Justin Scaccy

InternetCloning is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@internetcloning.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button