Palmer resort and election fraud case paused for appeal

Clive Palmer's pipe dream to sail a replica Titanic from the UK to the US is no longer on ice, according to the mercurial mining magnate.

Clive Palmer's pipe dream to sail a replica Titanic from the UK to the US is no longer on ice, according to the mercurial mining magnate. Photo: AAP

A magistrate has adjourned businessman Clive Palmer’s criminal fraud case until the Supreme Court can decide whether or not to end the matter entirely.

Lawyers for Palmer and his Coolum Resort business first applied on Thursday for an adjournment of hearings across two days into the fraud and dishonesty charges that were first brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in April 2018.

Palmer’s barrister, Peter Dunning KC, has previously denied any wrongdoing by his client.

Some of the charges relate to an allegation that Palmer and his Palmer Leisure Coolum business broke the law when he attempted to buy out timeshare investors in his Sunshine Coast resort but did follow through on a bid within the required two-month period.

Palmer has also been accused of improperly transferring more than $12.1 million through his company Mineralogy to Media Circus and Cosmo Developments, and ultimately using the funds for the Palmer United Party 2013 federal election campaign.

During a Magistrates Court hearing on Monday to decide whether to grant the adjournment, Palmer’s barrister Kris Byrne said his client’s right to a fair trial had been impacted by delays of up to two years in ASIC providing copies of evidence.

“There should be an adjournment until disclosure is completed and there can be a proper hearing,” Mr Byrne said.

Mr Byrne said a Supreme Court justice had previously described the strength of the prosecution case against Palmer as “woeful”.

The Supreme Court in November 2022 dismissed Palmer’s attempts to halt the Magistrates Court criminal case after he claimed that ASIC and prosecutors had engaged in a “abuse of process” and denied his human rights.

Palmer appealed the decision and a verdict on the appeal is still pending following a hearing in September.

ASIC prosecutor Trish McDonald told the Magistrates Court on Monday that its orders could easily be amended if a superior court made a decision that affected the criminal case.

“(Adjourning the case) would be speculative as we don’t know what the appeal is going to decide,” Ms McDonald said.

Ms McDonald said ASIC had appointed a new prosecutor who was double checking to make sure there was no more outstanding evidence to disclose to Palmer’s defence.

Magistrate Julian Noud said the application had involved a large amount of written material but thanks to helpful arguments in court from each side the issues were now “fairly straightforward”.

“I would not be inclined to go ahead with a case like this when there’s an appeal on complex points of law that could have a bearing on the case,” Mr Noud said.

He said there were signs that the criminal case was making progress outside of court, with both parties agreeing to the list of witnesses for a committal hearing and what they would be questioned about.

The case was scheduled for another mention on December 15.

Topics: Clive Palmer
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