Former Liberal MP Brian Ellis pleads guilty to hindering Corruption and Crime Commission investigation

Home Politics Former Liberal MP Brian Ellis pleads guilty to hindering Corruption and Crime Commission investigation
Former Liberal MP Brian Ellis pleads guilty to hindering Corruption and Crime Commission investigation

Another former WA politician has pleaded guilty to hindering a corruption investigation into his misuse of taxpayer-funded electoral allowances — in this instance by lying under oath and throwing his mobile phone into the ocean.

Brian Ellis, 72, a former Liberal member of the Legislative Council, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to two charges arising from a 2019 Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) investigation, which later found he had used his allowances to pay for a visit to a Japanese bath house and to go a Northbridge strip club.

The Perth Magistrates Court was told Ellis was ordered to appear before the then secret CCC hearing in 2020, but during his testimony he falsely claimed he had thrown his mobile phone into a rubbish bin at a northern suburbs shopping centre.

Ellis threw phone into ocean after giving evidence

In reality, Ellis still had the phone, but he threw it into the ocean a week after giving evidence.

Prosecutor Jean Shaw said because of Ellis’s lie and the disposal of his phone, the CCC was prevented from examining it.

The court heard Ellis had used an app on the phone to communicate with two other politicians, Phil Edman and Nigel Hallett, and there may have been data on it which would have been relevant to the CCC’s investigation.

A tight head and shoulders shot of WA Liberal MPs Brian Ellis and Phillip Edman at a media conference outside WA Parliament.
Brian Ellis and Phil Edman, right, who has also pleaded guilty to hindering the investigation. (AAP: Richard Wainwright)

Ms Shaw submitted that the offences were serious because they “demonstrated a complete lack of regard for the CCC and its processes”.

Ellis admits he ‘disgraced’ himself

Ellis’s barrister, Paul Yovich SC, said his client was genuinely remorseful for what he had done, and he read a letter that Ellis had written to the court in which he said he apologised for his actions.

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