Wyndham councillor Intaj Khan has withdrawn an appeal over his conviction for the incomplete and late filing of ordinary returns.
Cr Khan was convicted and fined $26,0000 at the Sunshine Magistrates Court in July on two counts of failing to submit ordinary returns between February 2016 and February 2017 on time, three counts of failing to disclose companies in which he held office and three counts of failing to disclose companies in which he held a financial interest.
At a County Court appeal hearing this morning Judge Sarah Dawes warned Cr Khan’s defence lawyer that her “client is at risk”.
She said she found Cr Khan’s “blatant disregard of his obligations to the community” as “astounding”.
Defence lawyer Sarah Keating told the court that Cr Khan admitted to failing to submit his ordinary returns to the council on time.
She said that, in relation to failing to disclose companies in which he held office or held a financial interest, these companies were all “shelf companies” which had never traded or been active.
She said Cr Khan had made an “honest and reasonable mistake” in not declaring his interest in, or positions at, these companies and described his offences as at the “lower end” of the scale.
Ms Keating said that the “real issue” for Cr Khan was “the imposition of the offences”.
She said Cr Khan held a leadership position at two registered training organisations and was required under law to be a “fit and proper person” to hold these positions.
She said his training organisations employed up to 25 people, whose jobs could be in jeopardy if he could not retain his leadership role.
Ms Keating said that the convictions could also potentially have a “significant” impact on Cr Khan when travelling.
She told the court that Cr Khan, a 45-year-old father of five, had qualified as an engineer after studying at a Queensland university, had “a good work ethic” and had made “a significant contribution to the community as a councillor”.
However, Judge Dawes said: “I don’t accept the submissions and your client is at risk.”
Judge Dawes questioned how Cr Khan’s offending could be described as “at the lowest end, when it’s persistent offending”.
In regards to Cr Khan serving as a councillor since 2012 she asked: “Isn’t it critical that someone in that position has an understanding of what their obligations are under the Local Government Act?”
Ms Keating and Cr Khan conferred for a short period, after which Ms Keating told the court that the appeal was withdrawn.
Star Weekly approached Cr Khan for comment but a man accompanying him said, “No comment”.