Publishers Note: The federal government has awarded a ‘dishonest’ mayor an Order of Australia medal.
It places John Brent right up there with Prince Phillip wearing privilege and esteem as a medal of honour. And who better to announce the award, but the Murdoch press.
Mayor Brent’s reputation has been shaken by the findings of Tasmanian Supreme Court judge Alan Blow, who attacked his evidence in a case involving a signature on a deed giving rise to a debt of about $900,000 to Tasmanian farmer, Mr Moore.
In a surprising move, the Mayor of the Scenic Rim claimed the signature on the contract to be a forgery. Justice Blow could not rule whether Mayor Brent’s signature was forged because the witness of the signature was never called to give evidence. One possible scenario is that the signature had been forged by John Brent. Another is that his daughter forged the signature.
Mayor branded a ‘dishonest witness’ gets Queen’s Birthday honour
A Queensland mayor with close links to the Liberal National Party has been awarded a Queen’s Birthday honour, just days after being slammed as a “dishonest witness” by a Supreme Court judge.
The Medal of the Order of Australia for John Brent, whose agriculture business in southeast Queensland has left a trail of debts, yesterday prompted a top grower, Glenn Moore, to criticise the awards process.
“I would have thought that this is a very embarrassing result — a judge calls him a dishonest witness one day, and a few days later he’s getting the national award,’’ Mr Moore, of Scottsdale in Tasmania, told The Australian.
“He should not have received any award, in my opinion.”
Mr Brent, who has been a confidante of former premier Campbell Newman and a strong supporter of the LNP, is the long-time mayor of the Scenic Rim, which is centred on the town of Beaudesert. He is also head of family company Bunjurgen.
His reputation has been shaken by the findings of Tasmanian Supreme Court judge Alan Blow, who attacked Mr Brent’s evidence in a case involving a forged signature and a debt of about $900,000 to Mr Moore’s business.
The Australian has previously reported on concerns among Brent family members over Mr Brent’s role in controlling funds belonging to elderly acquaintances. He strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
Justice Blow said in his judgment published last Friday: “I am satisfied that he was a dishonest witness. I am not prepared to place any reliance on anything he said as to any matter of controversy unless his evidence is corroborated. Some of his evidence simply does not ring true.
“If it is true that his signature was forged without his knowledge, and that he first learned of the forgery after the plaintiff had demanded over $900,000 from him and his brother in reliance on the forged document, then one would expect him to have initiated inquiries as to who had forged his signature, to have notified Bunjurgen’s liquidator of the forgery, and to have reported the matter to the police.”
The finding by Justice Blow came after the Queen’s Birthday honours were decided in a confidential process run by the federal government, but Mr Moore said bureaucrats should have been aware of the court case.
Mr Brent, 66, described his award as humbling. After the judge’s description of him as a dishonest witness, he told local media he had been “cleared and vindicated” by the finding that his signature was forged on a financial guarantee document sent by his daughter, Sally Brent, to Mr Moore in Tasmania. The question of who forged his signature may be pursued by police.
June 09, 2015 12:00AM
National Chief Correspondent