Corruption investigation into Walter Sofronoff commences

By Dan Holmes

May 14, 2024

Walter Sofronoff
Walter Sofronoff. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

The ACT Integrity Commission has announced Walter Sofronoff will be investigated for corruption.

Sofronoff was picked to chair an inquiry into the criminal trial of Bruce Lehrmann in 2023. He found misconduct and poor decision-making throughout the investigation and trial.

His report was particularly scathing of former director of public prosecutions Shane Drumgold, whom, he said, had “lost objectivity”.

Drumgold resigned after its release but has disputed its findings. In August last year, he initiated a judicial review, asking the report be rendered invalid.

Questions about Sofronoff’s own objectivity formed the basis of the review. Evidence showed Sofronoff had spent a lot of time on the phone with right-wing columnist Janet Albrechtsen, who has been one of Lehrmann’s chief apologists. In March, Acting Justice Stephen Kaye found in favour of Drumgold, saying Sofronoff’s contact with Albrechtsen raised reasonable questions about his objectivity.

The ACT Anti-corruption watchdog revealed they were considering investigating Sofronoff’s conduct in April. On May 10, it formally announced it had “reasonable suspicion” he had engaged in corrupt conduct.

“On 1 February 2023, the Board was established and commenced under the Inquiries Act 1991 and Mr Sofronoff was appointed to conduct the inquiry. On 31 July 2023, the report resulting from the Board of Inquiry was delivered to the ACT Chief Minister,” wrote a spokesperson for the ACT Integrity Commission

“The allegations assessed by the Commissioner relate to the provision by Mr Sofronoff of his report to two journalists before it was made public by the Chief Minister, allegedly in breach of the requirements of the Inquiries Act 1991 and allegedly constituting corrupt conduct under the Integrity Commission Act 2018.

“As the investigation is ongoing, the Commission will not be making any further public comments at this time.”


Lehrmann inquiry reveals poor choices and behaviour

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