ANDREW CORNWELL CLEARED BY ICAC

Former State politician, Andrew Cornwell has been cleared of perjury by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

After a two-year investigation, the Department of Public Prosecutions advised there was insufficient evidence to pursue allegations of false and misleading evidence during Operation Spicer.

FULL STATEMENT FROM ANDREW CORNWELL

I am delighted that, this week, I have finally been exonerated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), in relation to its 2014 inquiry into the NSW Liberal Party, known as Operation Spicer.

From the outset of my involvement in that inquiry, as the then local member for Charlestown, l assisted ICAC fully with its investigations.

I provided a detailed voluntary statement.

In his opening address in the inquiry, Counsel Assisting described me as having provided “considerable assistance” to ICAC.

Unfortunately, ICAC’s view of my assistance suddenly changed. I have my own ideas on why that was. I was then vigorously attacked, and accused of perjury. When ICAC’s report on Operation Spicer issued two years later, in mid-2016, I was referred to the NSW DPP for criminal investigation. After another two years of waiting, earlier this week the DPP finally advised ICAC that the perjury allegation could not be sustained, and the case against me was finally dropped. lCAC has accepted that advice.

I can now put this matter behind me with a clear conscience.

The perjury allegation against me was always baseless. I am pleased to have had my reputation restored. But, I am also disappointed to have had to live under a cloud of suspicion and distrust for so long.

It has been a gruelling 4 years for me and my family. The stigma has impacted our lives in so many different ways. From banks closung our children’s bank accounts! To being unable to get insurance! The examples are endless.

However, while the impact on me and my wife, and our young family, has been immense, the biggest losers during this nadir in lCAC’s history has been the Hunter as a whole.

The New South Wales Government has done much in recent years to reform ICAC from the organisation that it once was, to ensure that this sort of thing will never happen again. Hopefully, our next generation of politicians will remember and learn from these experiences and will continue that vision.

I would like to thank my wife Samantha, my family, my work colleagues, and the entire Hunter community for their steadfast support over what has been a difficult few years. As a family, we hope now to return our lives to a level of normality. I look forward to continuing to serve our community as a vet for many years to come.

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