Jury returns verdict in fraud, perjury trial
UPDATE 10AM: THE JURY has returned a verdict in the trial of Catherine Faye Campbell in Rockhampton District Court this morning.
After deliberating overnight, the jury has returned a guilty verdict for all seven charges including two counts of fraud, three counts of providing false declarations and two counts of perjury.
Ms Campbell has been taken into custody and has the opportunity to gain legal representation ahead of sentencing.
Judge Michael Burnett has adjourned the matter until noon.
INITIAL: CATHERINE Faye Campbell was photographed French kissing another man on holidays in Thailand months after she claims she started a defacto relationship with Christopher Neil Butler.
This evidence was produced during a trial in the Rockhampton District Court where Ms Campbell is defending herself against two fraud charges, three charges for providing false declarations and two of perjury.
Crown prosecution alleged Ms Campbell lied about her relationships with Mr Butler and another man, Jeremy Johnson, during a civil trial in 2012, where she claimed she had been in a defacto relationship with Mr Butler since August 2009. .
Mr Butler, 55, died on September 18, 2011.
Two days prior to his death, paperwork was lodged to have the title of his land, where a two-bedroom brick home is situated, transferred to a trust controlled by Ms Campbell.
Two months after Mr Butler's death, Ms Campbell sold a Nissan Patrol that had previously been registered to Mr Butler and the ownership had since been transferred in to her name.
These two incidents form the basis of the seven charges Ms Campbell has pleaded not guilty to. Crown prosecutor Joshua Phillips alleges Ms Campbell dishonestly carried out these transactions.
During his closing address, Mr Phillips pointed to discrepancies in Mr Butler's alleged signature on documents before the court, including for the Nissan Patrol and the house transfer.
"The differences, I suggest to you, is striking," he said.
The court heard testimony from the Justice of the Peace who witnessed Mr Butler sign the original version of the property transfer during the trial, which Mr Phillips reviewed in his closing addressed.
The JP did not recall seeing the children's names on the original document, however the one shown in court had both of Ms Campbell's sons names - both aged under 18 - which were then struck out with a pen and the words Campbell Family Trust handwritten underneath.
Mr Phillips said the right way to address the issues with that document raised by the Department of Resources was to start a fresh document.
Ms Campbell told the jury during her closing address that the original cancellation document she found in the glove box was covered in mud and was not accepted by the Department of Main Roads, so she filled out a fresh form.
She said she had been in a relationship with Mr Johnson starting in October 2008 but was over by January 2009.
Mr Johnson was the man she travelled with to Thailand later in 2009 and he told the jury a photograph of himself and Ms Campbell with their tongues touching was taken while on that holiday.
Ms Campbell said the decision that Mr Johnson would go with her to Thailand was made after the girlfriend she was meant to be holidaying with pulled out at the last minute.
Ms Campbell, continuing with her closing address, then went on to mention a trip with Mr Johnson to New Zealand in 2010, which she claims occurred at the last minute when her travel plans to visit Mr Butler were thwarted by a cyclone in North Queensland.
She claimed Mr Butler had bad back pain that resulted in him quitting his mining job, wanted to retire and access his full superannuation.
Ms Campbell said signing over the house to her was to clear his debts so he could access the super in one lump sum.
Mr Phillips pointed out to the jury that Mr Butler's neighbours testified that when Mr Butler mentioned the transfer of the house to them, he described it as a 50/50 ownership and that they testified that the first time they saw Ms Campbell was December 2010.
Ms Campbell claims she and Mr Butler had seen each other on a monthly basis since August 2009, both travelling to each other's location for visits.
Mr Phillips pointed to evidence provided by Erica Sanderson who said when she spoke with Ms Campbell in February 2011, she referred to Mr Butler as 'just a friend'.
The court also heard evidence for one of Mr Butler's childhood friends - Neil Davies -who said he lived with Mr Butler at McEwens Beach for two months from April 2009 and did not meet Ms Campbell until April 2011.
Mr Davies daughter, Lucy, who was with him visiting Mr Butler in 2011, told the jury she did not recall seeing any female items in Mr Butler's bedroom where she slept that night.
The jury retired to deliberate yesterday.