A court has heard allegations that a Melbourne property developer arranged escorts, paid for meals in top restaurants and gave cash to former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale.
- Christopher Pinzone is accused of corruptly offering benefits to Pisasale
- It’s alleged the offers occurred between October 2016 and June 2017
- The court heard Mr Pinzone travelled to Brisbane in April 2017 with a bundle of cash
Christopher Pinzone is facing a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court, charged with corruptly giving, or offering to give, benefits to a public officer.
It is alleged he made the offers between October 2016 and June 2017 in return for the then-mayor’s support of his development proposal at Yamanto in Ipswich.
Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden told the court yesterday Mr Pinzone travelled to Brisbane in April 2017 with a bundle of cash.
She said police questioned Mr Pinzone about the cash at the airport and he told them it was for his solicitor.
The cash was not seized and Mr Pinzone met an acquaintance at a solicitor’s office before going to dinner at the Gambaro Seafood Restaurant with Pisasale.
“There’s no direct evidence of anyone seeing overtly a bundle of cash being handed between the two, there’s evidence of them meeting at the restaurant and Mr Pisasale leaving the restaurant with a plastic bag,” Ms Farnden said.
The court also heard Pisasale was under surveillance during a trip to Melbourne in May 2017.
A taped phone conversation reveals Mr Pinzone asked a woman to take someone called Jo Jo to the Westin Hotel to meet Pisasale.
Mr Pinzone’s lawyer Craig Stevenson told the court there is footage of the former mayor and Mr Pinzone with the women.
“The surveillance shows two ladies arrived in a car, one lady gets out and goes up to Mr Pisasale … and Mr Pinzone gets into a car with the other lady and drives off.
Mr Stevenson said the footage stops and there is no evidence of what happened next.
He said the case against his client was circumstantial and argued that in pushing the Yamanto development, Pisasale was doing what he was required to do as mayor.
“The acts that Mr Pisasale was doing largely can be categorised as all acts which the mayor would regularly do in any event,” he said.
Ms Farnden rejected that argument.
Magistrate Belinda Merrin reserved her decision on whether or not to commit Mr Pinzone to stand trial.