Home / World News / Former MP who allegedly blackmailed opposition leader calls for party’s senior figures to take stand: court

Former MP who allegedly blackmailed opposition leader calls for party’s senior figures to take stand: court

A former Labor MP and her husband accused of blackmailing the state’s opposition leader in a ploy to get back into politics have called for two of the party’s senior figures to take the stand.

Annabel Digance, 63, and her husband Greg, 61, were each charged with one count of blackmailing Peter Malinauskas.

They are alleged to have threatened to make allegations of misconduct by Mr Malinauskas to politically wound him in the lead up to the next state election in March if he did not meet their demands for Ms Digance’s return to politics.

She held the Labor seat for Elder from 2014 to 2018.

The alleged threats were made between February and March in 2020, even after Mr Malinauskas made a complaint to police in February that year.

It led to the Strathalbyn couple’s arrest in April 2021.

Annabel Digance and her husband Greg, pictured leaving court after being granted bail, are both facing blackmail charges. 7 News
Camera IconAnnabel Digance and her husband Greg, pictured leaving court after being granted bail, are both facing blackmail charges. 7 News Credit: Supplied
QUESTION TIME
Camera IconThey have been accused of blackmailing the opposition leader Peter Malinauskas for personal gain. NCA NewsWire / Naomi Jellicoe Credit: News Corp Australia

The allegations of misconduct were concoctions of the two defendants, the court has heard.

Defence counsel for Ms Digance, Robert Cameron, told the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Tuesday that his client had filed an application requesting Mr Malinauskas, the current ALP state secretary Reggie Martin and the lead investigator be cross examined.

He said a 15-page notice had been filed to the court outlining special reasons why those witnesses should take the stand “in the interest of justice”, before it potentially moves to the District Court for trial.

“Both defendants have also filed notices that they respectfully submit to the court that there is no case to answer,” Mr Cameron said.

“The prosecution should be dismissed and the prosecution should be permanently stayed as an abuse of process.”

ADELAIDE COURT
Camera IconFormer SA Labor MP Annabel Digance (left) and her husband Greg Digance (right) made no comment as they left the Adelaide Magistrates Court. Credit: News Corp Australia, NCA NewsWire / Emma Brasier.

However, prosecutor Jemma Litster told the court the charge would be proceeded with and said she was opposed to having all witnesses called.

“I can indicate the prosecution has given consideration to the case already and we are opposed to calling on each of the witnesses named in the applications,” she said.

“What the prosecution will give further consideration to is whether we’ll supply statement material to meet the matter set out in those notices.”

The Digance’s are due to reappear in court in November to argue why the witnesses should be called.

They made no comment as they left the court.

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