Australian Federal Police execute a search warrant at the Beerwah home of James Ashby. Photo: Jordan Foster/ WIN News
Australian Federal Police execute a search warrant at the Beerwah home of James Ashby. Photo: Jordan Foster/ WIN News

Police search James Ashby's home over Slipper diary

EIGHT police officers have searched the home of former political staffer James Ashby, looking for items linked to diaries of former Sunshine Coast MP Peter Slipper.

Mr Ashby confirmed with the ABC that officers had visited his home about about 8am on Tuesday.

The former adviser made sexual harassment allegations in 2012 against his then-boss and former speaker, Mr Slipper.

Mr Ashby said he was shocked by the search.

"Absolutely shocked and disappointed all in one," he said.

"They're looking for diary records, photographs, correspondence, notes, telecommunications records, travel records, accommodation records, postal records, receipts, spreadsheets, and newspaper articles that relate to the diaries of Peter Slipper."

The Australia Federal Police said in a statement it was searching a Sunshine Coast home.

The latest developments will be watched closely by current Sunshine Coast MP Mal Brough.

Mr Brough has admitted he asked Mr Slipper's staffer James Ashby to make copies of the Speaker's private diary.

Mr Brough confirmed his part in the plan to 60 Minutes in September last year, saying his actions were justified because Mr Slipper had committed a crime.

The Guardian reported the AFP is still investigating Mr Brough's involvement.

"The AFP can confirm that it received a referral regarding the alleged unauthorised disclosure of Mr Slipper's diaries on 8 September 2014 and is investigating this matter," an AFP spokesperson told The Guardian.

"This investigation remains ongoing."

Mr Slipper was under scrutiny at the time for misusing travel entitlements, following a major investigation by Sunshine Coast Daily journalist Bill Hoffman.

Mr Slipper was found guilty of misusing Cabcharge vouchers.

Former Peter Slipper staffer James Ashby on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes
Former Peter Slipper staffer James Ashby on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes

In parallel, Mr Ashby had launched a sexual harrassment case against Mr Slipper, which was thrown out because the judge found it was "to pursue a political attack against Mr Slipper".

In February 2014, the Federal Court upheld an appeal by Mr Ashby against the earlier ruling.

As part of the court's decision, the judges included a view on Mr Brough's involvement:

"We are also of the opinion that there was no basis for the primary judge to conclude that Brough was part of any combination with anyone in respect to the commencement of these proceedings with the predominant purpose of damaging Slipper in the way alleged or at all."

Mr Slipper went on to win a legal fight to challenge his conviction in an Australian Capital Territory court.

The AFP investigation followed Mr Brough's admission on the Nine Network, which was referred to the authorities by Labor's Graham Perrett, a former Supreme Court solicitor.

During an interview with ABC's Radio National on Tuesday, Mr Brough said the allegations were "a misunderstanding" and he would not "go back and canvass all these issues".


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