Bridges could face prison if allegations true: Lawyer

Simon Bridges. Photo: File
Simon Bridges. Photo: File
If allegations by Rogue MP Jami-Lee Ross are true, National Party Leader Simon Bridges could face up to two years in jail, electoral lawyer Graeme Edgeler says.

Today, while the National Party caucus took place, Ross fronted media, making explosive claims against Bridges saying he would complain to police about the handling of donations made to the party.

Ross told reporters he plans to lay a police complaint over Bridges' handling of donations - and says he will provide a recording of a conversation with the National leader to support his complaint.

Ross said Bridges asked him to collect a $100,000 donation which was then split into smaller amounts to hide it.

He revealed he has quit the National Party and plans to stand as an independent candidate in a Botany byelection.

Edgeler said Ross had alleged there had been an "attempt or conspiracy" to try and get around some of the particular election donation disclosure requirement in the act.

Edgeler has worked with the Electoral Commission on election finance law and has given advice about electoral law as a lawyer.

"Because it [the donation] was as large as he says it was, there is an obligation to disclose large donations, over $30,000, within 10 working days to the electoral commission."

"But that depends how it was laid out. It's how exactly did it happen that's important if this is illegal or not. Also who knew what when and what can you prove?"

It needed to be proved beyond reasonable doubt to get a conviction, he said.

Ross had alleged Bridges had asked someone to structure the donation to avoid that disclosure requirement, he said.

"That would be a reasonably serious electoral law offence if that was proven.

It carried a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment.

"It could be a conspiracy charge, there was an attempt to arrange with other people to break the law, but there would be other possibilities."

He said Ross appeared credible during his press conference.

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