Tuesday, 20 May 2008

No conviction recorded over leaflet scandal

A man who pleaded guilty to distributing leaflets from a bogus radical Islamic group during last year's federal election has had no conviction recorded.

Robert Holstein was one of five men involved in distributing the pamphlets in the key western Sydney seat of Lindsay.

The leaflets claimed to be from an Islamic group that had links to the Labor Party.

They alleged the ALP wanted the Bali bombers forgiven and urged Muslims to vote Labor.

The court heard Holstein had never been a member of any political party but had volunteered to hand out how-to-vote cards for the Liberal candidate for Lindsay, Karen Chijoff.

The 29-year-old's lawyer said his client had no involvement in the creation or production of the leaflets and that he knew it was wrong as soon as he saw the content of them.

He said Holstein was very sorry for what had happened and deeply regretted his involvement in the incident.

The magistrate took into account Holstein's limited involvement in the matter and no conviction was recorded.

Two others, including Karen Chijoff's estranged husband, have already been dealt with in the court.

Greg Chijoff was fined for his involvement in the scandal, while 37-year-old Troy Craig had no conviction recorded

The husband of the then outgoing MP for Lindsay, Jackie Kelly, has also been charged under the Electoral Act. Gary Clarke has pleaded not guilty.

Ms Chijoff lost her seat to Labor in the election, days after the scam was revealed.

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