‘Misguided loyalty’ drove lie about lawyer

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A carpenter who used black market steroids for years lied to a corruption watchdog about a lawyer’s drug use because of “misguided loyalty” to his best friend. Craig David McDonald pleaded guilty to perjury over his testimony to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) which was investigating criminal conduct in relation to Queensland lawyers. The 34-year-old told the CCC in May 2020 he had never supplied steroids to Gold Coast lawyer Campbell MacCallum or done cocaine or other drugs with the solicitor, a Brisbane court heard on Friday. McDonald was not charged with supplying drugs to MacCallum, but only because his testimony was found – from evidence like texts and recorded conversations – to be false. The carpenter also claimed he had not paid any legal fees to MacCallum, but that was contradicted by trust account documentation and other evidence. McDonald admitted supplying steroids and possessing drugs, including more than 200g of steroids, and $2222 he had made from offending found in his house during a police search in November 2019. There was “clearly a commercial component” to the drug offending which had been committed while McDonald was on parole for other similar offences, crown prosecutor Ryder Reid told the court. But the perjury added an extra level of criminality, he added. “It is an offence which strikes at the heart of justice system,” Mr Reid said. McDonald’s criminal history dated back to his early 20s when he moved to the Gold Coast. Mr Reid told Brisbane Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Wilson this meant McDonald’s rehabilitation prospects were becoming increasingly limited. Barrister Nicholas Brown said his client considered MacCallum to be his best friend and there were no real prospects of any personal gain by lying to the CCC. “It’s somewhat unexplainable in terms of why he took that path at the CCC,” Mr Brown added. Justice Elizabeth Wilson said “misguided loyalty” may have been behind the false testimony of a man who had abandoned a promising football career to start a carpentry apprenticeship. McDonald first used drugs after moving to the Gold Coast at the age of 21, progressing to pain medication and then steroids because of back pain before and after spinal surgery. He has admitted using black market steroids for 15 years. Justice Wilson handed McDonald an effective sentence of 50 months behind bars. With time already served, he will be eligible for parole in January. Australian Associated Press


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