Report hearing first day of trial October 15

Update: first day's trial.

The case is named R v Kathlin Armstrong at the Downing St Local Court in Sydney.

The media photographed Kat, her lawyers Peter O'Brien and Tahn O'Rourke as they entered.  The Justice Action team turned out in force.

Her Honour, Magistrate Carolyn Huntsman presided. Four members of the WJN Board and management sat behind the police and prosecution.

The prosecution submitted certain items of evidence later than the 14-day deadline before the date of the hearing. Her Honour Magistrate Huntsman held that, despite this having prejudiced the defence in not allowing them to sufficiently to prepare a response to the evidence (such as bringing in expert witnesses), the evidence was of too much significance not be to admitted.

The prosecution conducted their examination-in-chief of their witness, Detective Senior Counsel David Thompson. The counsel for the prosecution mainly drew out evidence consisting of documents and statements from various sources concerning the financial transactions that took place between WJN and the people whom Ms Armstrong returned funds to.

The counsel for the defence then cross examined Detective Thompson concerning his knowledge of the administrative structure of the WJN organisation, the existence of the Finance Sub-committee of the Board, and whether this knowledge was at all material to his investigation.

The prosecutor asked the Constable questions concerning the Board of WJN, its makeup, its functioning, its members and their roles. It was determined the Constable was guided by the current board members in his investigation, he didn’t consider involvement of previous board members. The Constable didn’t include/interview the Treasurer of the company during period 2013-17 (the accused period of time). The Constable reaffirmed that he was not aware of any financial sub committee.

Catherine Brennan took the stand, previous CEO of WJN (9 months during 2017-2018). Ms Brennan did not have knowledge about how the financial decisions are made within the organisation or what they are. She was knowledgeable about members of the board and their roles and that they are volunteers. She was taught her job by Kat.
She described her CEO role and responsibilities. She described her misunderstanding about procedures to do with authorising payments/invoices. Ms Brennan’s understanding was that two people had to authorise payments. She later found out that this information was incorrect, only one signature was necessary. They examined documents of financial transactions approved by Kat Armstrong to various accounts. The crown also examined texts/email between Kat Armstrong and Catherine Brennan.

Cross examination by Peter O'Brien was about to begin but the magistrate adjourned for the day until 9:30am Wednesday 16th October to Downing St Local Court 4.2.

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