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MAYOR IN COURT: Chris Loft ready to fight allegations

LOOKING cheerful, Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft arrived at court on his 67th birthday with a Brisbane-based lawyer by his side.

A crowd of supporters turned up for the mayor's first court appearance on Thursday including his son Jason and fellow councillor Denis Chapman.

Cr Loft greeted the media pack but would not be drawn on any information surrounding his case.

Instead he repeatedly said "good morning" and went inside to where dozens of other accused offenders were waiting for their names to be called.

The council crowd combined with the busyness of the weekly Thursday criminal call-over meant some were people forced to stand or sit on the floor.

When it was Cr Loft's time to front the bar table, he was before Magistrate Stephen Guttridge for less than two minutes.

Cr Loft's charges - two counts of misconduct in a public office, disclosure of official secrets, wilfully disclosing information and computer hacking - were mentioned briefly and adjourned until March 1.

Outside court, Cr Loft's laywer Angelo Venardos confirmed his client would fight the allegations.

"He's not fearful of the truth, not fearful at all," Mr Venardos said.

"In fact he looks forward for the truth to come out."

Fraser Coast Regional Council mayor Chris Loft after his first court appearance.
Fraser Coast Regional Council mayor Chris Loft after his first court appearance. Alistair Brightman

When asked whether the court proceedings would interrupt Cr Loft's role as Mayor, Mr Venardos answered "no."

"No, it's not a distraction," he said. "He won't be stepping down, he's confident in the due process, it's happening, and will let things take their course.

"My client's entitled to the presumption of innocence."

Council CEO Ken Diehm, who was also in attendance, assured the community the council was not paying for Cr Loft's legal fees.

"It's unpleasant seeing the Mayor go to court," Mr Diehm said.

"For Fraser Coast Regional Council, it's business as usual."

In the March court appearance, Mr Venardos will appear by phone and Cr Loft's appearance will be excused.

Cr Loft was arrested and charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission in November last year.

The six-week adjournment is for the CCC to provide alleged evidence against Cr Loft.

Topics:  editors picks fccourt fccrime fraser coast fraser coast regional council hervey bay magistrates court


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