Fraud case dismissed

THE long awaited decision on the alleged fraud case against Whitsunday MP Jan Jarratt's former staff member Barbara Ann Moody was dismissed in Proserpine Magistrate's Court yesterday.

After numerous adjournments to allow Magistrate Kennedy to consider all the evidence put forward during the three-day committal hearing in July, a lengthy 24-page verdict was handed down yesterday.

Magistrate Kennedy said the section of the criminal code Moody had been charged with required her to “dishonestly gain a benefit.”

“I cannot find, on the evidence before me, that Ms Jarratt suffered a loss or that you gained a benefit,” he said.

“Perhaps you did, but I can proceed only on the evidence as it stands and on the evidence as it stands, I am not satisfied that the prosecution has raised the prima facie case against you and in the circumstances, you will be discharged.”

It was alleged Moody gained benefit of more than $16,000 while employed by Ms Jarratt between 2006 and 2008.

The charge followed a complaint from Ms Jarratt when she noticed irregularities in her tax return and had to provide receipts to back up her claims for electoral expenses or be taxed on the discrepancy.

It was noted during the committal hearing that Moody had no previous accounting experience whatsoever and that Ms Jarratt ran a “chaotic and shambolic” office accounting system.

Throughout the verdict on Wednesday, Magistrate Kennedy said the book keeping was unusual and often non-existent.

“In this case I am satisfied that you were incapable due to lack of skill and competence in the area of book keeping to keep Jan Jarratt's office books in any sort of logical order,” he told Moody.

“The books of account presented to me were in a mess and they showed great incompetence and virtually no system at all- but what fraud?”

An emotional Moody spoke to the Whitsunday Times outside the court.

“The whole situation is really sad,” she said.

“I'm a good honest person and I just don't do anything wrong to anybody.”

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