Will MP Craig Thomson Escape Charges Because HSU Fund Misuse Accusations Are Outside 6-Year Limit?

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By Vittorio Hernandez | December 5, 2012 10:00 AM EST

While embattled MP Craig Thomson has consistently denied that he misused Health Services Union (HSU) funds to pay for the services of prostitutes and the personal travel of his wife, it won't be his denial that could allow him to avoid prosecution.

The MP insisted that most of Fair Work Australia's (FWA) charges were made beyond the six-year Statute of Limitations, which implies the accusations could be dismissed on technicalities, not based on his innocence of the charges.

Most of the accusations made by FWA, including charges that Mr Thomson used HSU credit cards to pay for services of sex trade workers, happened before October 2006.

"Ordinarily it's six year. Six years before October 2012 is, unless there's some unusual reason which no one has advanced, the limit. Nothing before that is relevant," Brisbane Times quoted Chris McArdie, the MP's lawyer.

However, there are still several charges related mostly to flights and cash withdrawals that allegedly took place between October 2006 and December 2007 when he left the union, which is still within the six-year period.

FWA has filed cases against Mr Thomson, claiming he violated 37 workplace laws and 25 HSU rules. The MP has claimed innocence of the charges and a female prostitute, who earlier claimed the legislator was her customer, retracted her statement and said she has documentary proof that she was out Australia when her alleged sexual services were availed of by Mr Thomson.

If Mr Thomson would avoid the penalties due to the delay by the FWA in filing charges in court, Opposition frontbencher Eric Abetz said FWA officials would be blamed for the fiasco.

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