The former Parliamentary Speaker Peter Slipper has managed to avoid the Go-Slow (as an ex-lawyer who worked with me as producer used to refer to the House of Correction).
He’d spent a bit of time inside after dipping in to his trust fund.
It’s not easy being a lawyer – so many temptations.
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Of course that won’t be an issue for Slippery Pete now – no more lawyering for him after this.
Handing down a sentence which requires him to pay the Commonwealth back its $954 as well as complete 300 hours community service and be of good behaviour for the next two years, Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker pointed out that he had held one of the highest political positions in the country, and had breached a trust.
Her Honour also noted that Mr. Slipper had shown no remorse for his offences apart from the shattering effect of his public humiliation.
Apparently Pete overlooked the “public” part of public life.
I would argue that someone in his position should expect scrutiny, especially when they do the wrong thing.
Lawyers tend to be somewhat inconsistent when it comes to their clients and news coverage.
For every defence lawyer arguing their client has suffered and deserves to be cut some slack after the going over they’ve had I bet I can show you another one who is busily trying to manipulate the dreaded media to get their side of the argument across before court proceedings commence.
I know they’re trained to be opportunists and play the system as hard as they can, but the hypocrisy does get tiresome, especially when it comes coated with a thick layer of sanctimony.
I don’t agree that media exposure of criminal activity constitutes a hardship which should mitigate punishment.
Are we to accept that Peter Slipper suffered more because he had farther to fall from grace than most of us?
It was argued on his behalf that he was a pathetic figure.
Poor pathetic privileged Pete.
Couldn’t it be equally argued that because of the lofty heights he’d managed to climb he should be held to a higher standard than lesser mortals?
Should his punishment be all the greater because of the expectations we (presumably) have of our representatives in high office?
At the very least should his punishment be a warning to others who are supposed to serve the public good, not rort the public purse.
Of course we can then ask whether anyone so arrogant, so filled with a sense of entitlement or so just plain stupid would take notice.
Right now this minute I guarantee there are conspiracy types who will want you to believe the system went soft on Slipper because if it squeezed too hard, how much more might he have to say (to the embarrassment of all).
I think the way Peter Slipper behaved was disgraceful but above all foolish in the extreme.
In the end I don’t think there would be any good purpose served by sending him to gaol.
So it’s in to the history books for you Pete.
By the way, speaking of which can we expect a tell all bio?
Of course you’re not allowed to profit from your crimes.
But with only three hundred hours of community service over two years and no legal practice to pursue you should have plenty of time on your hands.
Perhaps you could find a ghost writer who’ll do it as a roman a clef and then we could all try to guess who it was really about.
That is presuming we could be persuaded to believe someone could throw away so much for so little.
*Update: The saga continues – Peter Slipper has lodged an appeal against his conviction