Sharples loses court appeal

THE man who helped bring down former One Nation party leader Pauline Hanson in a court case encouraged by would-be Prime Minister Tony Abbott seven years ago has had another expensive day in court – and lost to Tweed Shire Council.

Accountant Terry Sharples, who was One Nation’s candidate for the Queensland seat of Burleigh in the 1998 Federal election, has been ordered to pay costs believed to be well over $100,000 following his prolonged legal challenge to council rates rises.

Mr Sharples was ordered on Wednesday to pay half of Tweed Shire’s Council’s costs of an appeal in which he sought to avoid the earlier costs of unsuccessfully mounting a challenge to council rate rises.

In the earlier case he was ordered to pay one-third of the council’s costs believed to total nearly $300,000.

Tweed Mayor Warren Polglase yesterday welcomed the decision, but added that fighting the case had diverted “a good $300,000 out of council working funds”.

“Other programs would have been affected by that,” Cr Polglase said.

A senior council officer, corporate services director Troy Green confirmed Mr Sharples would have to pay a “significant amount of money”, but conceded the case had cost the council a lot.

“The second case (the appeal against costs) was done on the public purse,” Mr Green said. “The whole case has cost the taxpayers of Tweed and New South Wales a substantial amount of money.”

Mr Green said the council would pursue the costs it was owed.

Attempts to contact Mr Sharples by both phone and email were unsuccessful.

A NSW Court of Appeal panel of three judges found Mr Sharples should pay half the council’s legal cost of the appeal against the earlier costs order.

In January last year Mr Sharples lost his battle in the NSW Land and Environment Court to overturn a 9.5 per cent increase in council rates as laid down in a controversial seven-year plan.

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