Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Pisasale to stand trial for sexual assault

FORMER Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale has been committed to stand trial on almost 20 charges including sexual assault, fraud and corruption.

For the first time, The Courier-Mail can now reveal the disgraced politician has been accused of two offences of sexual assault.

Under Queensland law, those accused of sexual crimes can not be identified until they have been committed to stand trial.

Brisbane Magistrates Court today heard Pisasale is accused of "unlawfully and indecently" assaulting a woman at Ipswich twice on December 9, 2016 while he was still mayor.

His defence lawyer Andrew Anderson conceded there was enough evidence to send the sexual assault charges to trial. Pisasale did not enter a plea.

Pisasale was also committed to stand trial on 14 other offences including 10 of fraud, one count of official corruption and perjury.

Pisasale's former personal assistant Heather Gunn was today briefly called for cross examination in relation to a charge of fraud the former mayor is facing over allegations he dishonestly gained benefit for himself, namely interstate travel.

She was questioned about the council's then processes for approving the mayor's travel and told the court all of Pisasale's travel had to be approved by the council CEO.

Mr Anderson questioned Ms Gunn about one trip in which Mr Pisasale was scheduled to go to Melbourne to attend a Jamie Oliver event which he became unable to get to in time due to scheduling conflicts.

The court heard that despite the cancellation with the celebrity chef, Pisasale still went on the trip and met with another business, Transpacific.

"You may recall matters changed because a television show was going to be featuring Ipswich and that posed some difficulties for the attendance at Melbourne," Mr Anderson asked.

"That difficulty was something you had discussed with Mr Pisasale and there was an attempt to change matters around Jamie Oliver's schedule."

Ms Gunn said Mr Oliver was unavailable to meet after the scheduled time but Pisasale still went on the trip to Melbourne and met with members of a company named Transpacific.

"Whilst you had been told of the change...that was not something you passed on to the chief executive officer," Mr Anderson asked Ms Gunn.

"No," she responded.

"I'm not suggesting at all you did that deliberately," he said.

"There was no direction from Mr Pisasale to hide that from the chief executive officer?"

Ms Gunn said there was no such direction from the mayor.

"In the context of a busy office you've failed to pass that on," he asked.

"Yes," she relied.

Pisasale was committed to stand trial on 16 offences and did not enter any pleas. His trial date in the District Court will be set at a later date.

Two more minor matters including the drug possession were adjourned to February in the Magistrates court.