The sacked public servant at the centre of one of WA’s biggest corruption scandals remains behind bars, despite being granted $1.5 million bail.
- Paul Whyte and Jacob Anthonisz allegedly swindled $22 million from the public sector
- Mr Whyte’s lawyer says his client accepts the corruption allegations
- However, he said he needs to work out if the amounts the prosecution allege are correct
Former Department of Communities assistant director general Paul Whyte has appeared briefly in the Perth Magistrates Court via video link from Hakea Prison where he has been held since mid-December.
Mr Whyte and his associate Jacob Anthonisz were first charged in November on two corruption charges alleging they stole $2.5 million, but hundreds of extra charges added last month increased the total to $22 million.
Mr Whyte has indicated through his lawyer, Michael Tudori, that he will plead guilty to some of the charges, however the case has been adjourned until mid next month so he could obtain further legal advice.
The charges relate to an 11-year period between 2008 and 2019, when it is alleged the pair stole public money through a fake invoice scheme and spent it on themselves, including paying fees at a stud in New Zealand for a racehorse.
At the time Mr Whyte was a senior bureaucrat in the Department of Communities.
Whyte ‘in no rush’ to take up bail
Outside the court today Mr Tudori said his client had not taken up his bail because he “wanted to assess where he’s going”.
“There’s a lot of charges that he needs to work out, we need to work out whether the amounts that the prosecution allege are correct — that takes time,” he said.
“He obviously accepts that he’s done wrong, and accepts the allegations, it’s just working out, actually, have I done that particular charge?
“He’s in no rush, he just wants to do it properly.”
Mr Tudori said Mr Whyte “was not ruling out” taking up his bail at some stage, but he said at this time he was going through the process of going through the charges.
“It’s obviously conceded that he will ultimately receive a jail sentence so at this stage the time that’s he’s serving inside, in Hakea at the moment, comes off his sentence.”
Mr Whyte appeared on the video link wearing a dark green prison t-shirt and sporting a beard, with Mr Tudori saying his client was “doing well”.
Today’s appearance came two and a half months after Mr Whyte tried to take his life, two days after first appearing court on the initial charges.
He spent about a month in hospital with a previous court hearing being told in that time he conducted three lengthy interviews with police.
Mr Anthonisz, who is also facing three new money laundering charges in addition to the hundreds of corruption charges, also appeared in court today and his case was adjourned until April.
He has not been required to plead to any of the charges.
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