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‘I don’t see a conflict’: Minister defends Crown commissioner’s Kerry Stokes connection

Liam Bartlett
Article image for ‘I don’t see a conflict’: Minister defends Crown commissioner’s Kerry Stokes connection

The Police Minister has defended the decision to appoint Supreme Court judge Neville Owen to lead the Perth Casino Royal Commission, despite him having personal and business relationships with Kerry Stokes.

On Friday, Mr Owen publicly declared he has a personal relationship with the billionaire and also sits on the board of one of his investment companies.

The Seven West Media chairman has strong ties to two key witnesses in the inquiry, Seven West Media WA chief executive and Crown Resorts Perth director Maryna Fewster, and Seven West Media director and former Crown Resorts chief executive John Alexander.

But Police Minister Paul Papalia said he isn’t concerned about any possible conflict of interest.

“I don’t see a conflict, Neville Owen is a great Western Australian and a great person to be running that inquiry,” he told Liam Bartlett.

“It’s an inquiry into Crown itself … it’s not a royal commission into Kerry Stokes.”

Mr Papalia also supported the push for an inquiry into possible police corruption, following calls from a leading barrister who helped free a man wrongly convicted of murder.

WA’s Court of Appeal found credible evidence officers planted items to have Scott Austic charged with the fatal stabbing of his pregnant lover, Stacey Thorne.

“I have read some of the transcripts of the case and it is very disturbing,” Mr Papalia said.

“The CCC is the right authority to be looking at that sort of thing.”

Press PLAY to hear the full interview 

Liam Bartlett
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