Paul Snaidero has been disqualified as a Griffith City councillor after his conviction for assault was upheld in the District Court.
Mr Snaidero assaulted his then wife in their family home in December 2013 and was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in July.
Mr Snaidero was given a two-year good behaviour bond and fined $1000.
Earlier this year, he appealed the decision in Griffith’s District Court, however it was dismissed following a hearing on last Thursday.
A spokesman for the NSW Office of Local Government said certain types of offences carried an “automatic disqualification” from holding civic office.
He said councillors are disqualified when serving a sentence for a serious indictable offence or if convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment by five years or more.
The charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm can attract a sentence of up to five years in prison.
“A casual civic office vacancy now exists at Griffith City Council due to the recent disqualification of Paul Snaidero from holding office as a councillor,” Griffith City Council’s general manager Brett Stonestreet said.
“The disqualification occurred due to the conviction of Mr Snaidero of an offence that is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum period of five years.”
Under Section 275(1)e of the Local Government Act 1993, a disqualification for councillors lasts for seven years.
The Act also requires casual vacancies more than 18 months away from an ordinary election to be filled by a byelection, which has to be held no later than three months after the vacancy occurs.
It means council will be forced to have a byelection as the next ordinary election is set for September 2020.
Mr Snaidero’s disqualification is dated from November 1, 2018. A byelection could potentially cost ratepayers $150,000.
“Council is seeking legal advice with respect to whether it has an opportunity to apply to the Minister for Local Government to dispense with the byelection,” Mr Stronestreet said.
Mr Snaidero’s legal representative said Mr Snaidero is considering appealing the decision of the District Court.
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