Key witness in case pulled out due to threats: Nuttall

Former Queensland Minister Gordon Nuttall's children outside court after their father appeared in Court of Appeal.
Former Queensland Minister Gordon Nuttall's children outside court after their father appeared in Court of Appeal.

A FORMER government minister thrown behind bars for corruption says he has been dealt a miscarriage of justice because his key witness was threatened.

Former Queensland MP Gordon Nuttall was convicted of perjury and corruption in 2010 for sponsoring a wastewater treatment project while in government that he and businessmen Brendan McKennariey and Graham Doyle shared profits in.

The 60-year-old appeared in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday to ask for a time extension to appeal his conviction.

Looking noticeably thinner and sporting a navy jumper, a cash-stricken Nuttall, who represented himself, waved to his children as he entered the court.

Nuttall argued the star witness in his case, Mr Doyle, pulled out of testifying because the Crown Prosecutor told him he could face criminal charges.

Nuttall told the court Mr Doyle's testimony could have been a rebuttal to Mr McKennariey's evidence.

"The way I see it is this: The Crown has a witness in McKennariey and because he gave evidence on behalf of the Crown he has a get-out-of-jail-free card," he said.

"So he can implicate himself, he can incriminate himself knowing full well he is free and clear.

"The issue is that none of his evidence is challenged and it is not challenged, we say, because we couldn't call Doyle."

Counsel for the Crown, Walter Sofronoff QC, said the then-Crown Prosecutor's statement was "tantamount" to saying 'are you aware what may happen if you gave evidence'.

He said it was in fact helpful and allowed a forensic decision to be made on all of the information.

"If a re-trial was ordered…it does not appear that any different would follow," he said.

The court reserved its decision.

In a separate corruption scandal, Nuttall was convicted in 2009 of corruptly receiving secret commissions from mining magnate Ken Talbot.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission charged Nuttall after the Sunshine Coast Daily detailed Nuttall's links with local developers involved in a plan to build a hospital at Sippy Downs.

Nuttall will not be eligible for parole until July 2015.

Nuttall's friend Gary Tapiolas said outside court justice needed to be done for a man who had spent four years in a maximum security jail.

"It's time he had a fair go basically," he said. "I think it's time the public knew about the fact he has been incarcerated and if you go back to his own party that he represented has not stood behind him.

"It's time Gordon got a fair go."