NT ICAC failed to offer procedural fairness to Darwin Turf Club board member in investigation into $ 12 million grandstand grant, court finds

The Northern Territory’s anti-corruption watchdog failed to offer procedural fairness before making findings of improper conduct in a major corruption investigation, the Northern Territory Supreme Court justice has found.

Former Darwin Turf Club board member Damien Moriarty took the NT Independent Commissioner Against Corruption to court last year, after the ICAC made findings of misconduct, unsatisfactory conduct, and a breach of public trust over his involvement in a controversial government grant.

Then-Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, Ken Fleming, made findings against five individuals and the Darwin Turf Club board over the handling of a $ 12 million government grant for the new facility at Darwin’s Fannie Bay racecourse.

Today, Justice Judith Kelly found Mr Moriarty was not afforded procedural fairness in relation to findings made against the Turf Club board as a whole, as he was only given an opportunity to respond to the findings made against him personally.

“The defendant failed to afford the plaintiff procedural fairness, by failing to ensure he was given notice of a proposal to make findings of unsatisfactory conduct and breach of public trust against him in his capacity against him as a member of Darwin Turf Club board and afford him to respond to such proposed findings, “she said.

Two men standing outside the main entrance of the NT Supreme Court;  the one closest to the camera is speaking.
Damien Moriarty has welcomed the decision.(ABC News: Nicholas Hynes)

Report removed from ICAC website

New Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Michael Riches said the entire Turf Club investigation report had now been removed from the ICAC website.

“I have done so in order that the content of the report can be reviewed in light of the Supreme Court’s declarations,” Commissioner Riches said.

Outside court, Mr Moriarty said he was relieved by the finding after an “arduous” court process.

Ken Fleming talking to press in Darwin
The ICAC investigation into the Darwin Turf Club was conducted by then-Commissioner Ken Fleming.(ABC News: Alan Dowler)

Government considering court findings

Justice Kelly found the other board members were offered an opportunity to respond to the findings against them, however the ICAC had directed them not to discuss the matter with Mr Moriarty and he was not told there would be findings made against the board.

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