Glen Eira Council spares no expense in pursuit of Frank Penhalluriack

  • Andrea Kellett
  • January 22, 2014 4:32PM

LAWYERS for Glen Eira Council have embarked on a massive hunt for witnesses in their criminal court case against former councillor Frank Penhalluriack.

Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this morning heard council lawyers subpoenaed 27 organisations in December ahead of a court battle due to start in March.

Tony Burns, for Glen Eira Council, said council lawyers were looking to “ascertain account holders so further witnesses can be identified”.

The list includes banks, taxi companies, power companies the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Victoria Police and even entertainment company Blockbuster Australia.

The council has charged Mr Penhalluriack, his company K.I Penhalluriack Nominees Pty Ltd and former tenant Tomer Rabba with breaching the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.

It alleges they ran an illegal rooming house from a rental property owned by K.I Penhalluriack Nominees Pty Ltd on Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield, between May and June 2012.

All have pleaded not guilty and are due to battle it out in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in March.

Council lawyers are searching for a man known only as “Brent”, who is alleged to have had a crucial discussion with a council building inspector at the Hawthorn Rd rental property.

That discussion allegedly relates to how many people were staying at the property.

Tony Burns, for Glen Eira Council, told this morning’s special mention that the subpoenas had produced a “large volume of documents” in the search for witnesses.

Mr Penhalluriack maintained outside court that the council is wasting ratepayers’ money pursuing him, and has hired a QC to represent him.

Ratepayers already copped an $11,800 legal bill in November after a crucial omission by council lawyers on day one of the case.

The council was ordered to pay defence teams’ costs for their wasted appearance after the council’s legal team did not give adequate notice of crucial witness evidence.

The contest is due to start March 3.