Former ALP heavyweight guilty of unlawfully using electoral data

A former top dog of the NSW Labor branch has been found guilty of unlawfully using electoral roll information after he passed confidential personal details onto a union boss.

Then general secretary, Jamie Clements, asked two colleagues on separate occasions for protected information, which he wanted to give to now disgraced former union leader Derrick Belan.

In the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday, magistrate Beverley Schurr dismissed Clements' claim that he had made an honest mistake when he requested details about a man named Craig Wilson to pass on to Belan.

Political parties are entitled to receive a copy of the rolls maintained by both the Australian and NSW Electoral Commissions but it is illegal to use the information for anything other than election purposes.

Ms Schurr accepted that Clements asked executive officer Dominic Ofner for Mr Wilson's phone number and then rang Belan with the details he had obtained in May 2015.

"He made a comment, words to the effect of, '[Belan's] probably sending a bikie now,' " Mr Ofner said in his evidence to the court.

"[Mr Clements] said words to the effect of, 'It's a dirty game we work in.' "

About three weeks later, the court heard, Clements asked the branch's then state organiser David Latham to find details of Mr Wilson and was provided with a piece of paper with his name, address and phone number.

Clements pleaded not guilty, claiming he had not passed the information on to Belan and that he thought the information was coming from another database.

He gave evidence that he knew nothing of the regulatory framework governing the use of electoral information and that he did not think about the legal context of accessing the information "at the time".

But Ms Schurr said she was not convinced Clements had made a reasonable mistake, noting his political experience and senior position.

Clements was found guilty of using enrolment information without a permitted purpose, but not guilty of disclosing the information, a charge that required a different legal threshold to be met.

The maximum penalty he can face is a fine of $22,000. It is understood Clements will seek not to have a conviction recorded against him when is sentenced in July.

Clements resigned as general secretary in January 2016 after he was accused of pushing Mr Latham's then fiancee, Labor staffer Stefanie Jones, against a wall and trying to kiss her.

A few months later the NSW Electoral Commission charged him with unlawfully using and disclosing enrolment information.

The story Former ALP heavyweight guilty of unlawfully using electoral data first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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