Brinsmead wins battle to clear his name

PAUL Brinsmead has been cleared by the NSW Supreme Court of any acts of misconduct outlined by the Daly Inquiry, reigniting anger over the sacking of the Tweed Shire council.

Mr Brinsmead, the son of sacked pro-development councillor Bob Brinsmead, yesterday won a year-long legal battle to clear his name after he claimed highly damaging and unsupported claims were made about him by Maurice Daly, the man commissioned to conduct the inquiry.

The court found the government-appointed inquiry, which preceded the sacking of the council, did not have the power to make findings against Paul Brinsmead.

Justice Derek Price also awarded costs against Commissioner Daly and the NSW Local Government Minister Kerry Hickey.

Mr Brinsmead said he was pleased with the determination of the NSW Supreme Court.

The judge's decision immediately led to calls by sacked mayor Warren Polglase for the council to be re- instated or new elections held to replace the government-appointed administrators.

"The court decision shows the process the government embarked upon was a denial of natural justice and procedural fairness and a total sham," he said.

Deputy mayor when the council was sacked in May 2005, Lynne Beck, said the court decision proved the government's sacking of the council was a "huge boo-boo".

But the government said it may consider appealing the court decision.

A spokesman for Mr Hickey said the government's solicitors would decide whether an appeal was appropriate but the court decision did not question the "basis on which Tweed Shire Council was dismissed".

He said the court case was based on "whether Mr Brinsmead was offered an opportunity to comment on minor aspects of the second Daly report that related to himself".

"The decision to dismiss Tweed Council was based on the first Daly report," he added.

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