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Calls to overhaul Perth Casino Royal Commission amid perceived conflict of interest

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Calls to overhaul Perth Casino Royal Commission amid perceived conflict of interest

One of Australia’s most high-profile lawyers has questioned the appointment of the Perth Casino royal commissioner, after it was revealed he is a close friend of WA billionaire Kerry Stokes.

Commissioner Neville Owen has personal and business relationships with the Seven West Media chairman, who employs two witnesses and has strong ties to Crown shareholder James Packer.

Former senior counsel for New South Wales’s corruption watchdog, Geoffrey Watson SC, said the Perth Casino Royal Commission needs to be overhauled.

“Neville Owen personally is an outstanding Australian of greatest integrity … but he shouldn’t be on this royal commission, there are problems with perception,” he told Liam Bartlett.

“The overhanging cloud, the thought that the royal commissioner may know some of the witnesses who are giving critical evidence.

“There are just issues at stake here which are so big, so important, that everything needs to be clean, clear and above board.”

He said the enquiry is at risk of being undermined and Premier Mark McGowan should step in and start again.

“The situation can be redeemed.”

Press PLAY to hear why he wants the Perth Casino Royal Commission to be overhauled

Liam Bartlett
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