An investigation into allegations former Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle groped a woman at a black tie dinner could be released after Mr Doyle withdrew legal action which had halted the inquiry.
- The woman who says Mr Doyle touched her inappropriately has also made a formal complaint to police
- A report in March last year found Mr Doyle’s behaviour towards two councillors could constitute sexual harrassment
- The former lord mayor has repeatedly denied the accusations against him
Mr Doyle is accused of touching a woman inappropriately at a Melbourne Health dinner in 2016 while the woman’s then-fiance and his daughter sat metres away.
Mr Doyle was chairman of Melbourne Health at the time.
The woman who complained about Mr Doyle’s behaviour at the dinner, Kharla Williams, has also made a formal complaint with Victoria Police, which is assessing the case.
In December 2018, the Supreme Court granted an injunction which prevented the City of Melbourne from continuing or publishing an investigation carried out by Ian Freckelton QC.
The matter was due to be heard in the Supreme Court on Monday, but the City of Melbourne said in a statement on Friday night that Mr Doyle had withdrawn the action.
In the statement, City of Melbourne chief executive officer Justin Hanney welcomed Mr Doyle’s decision, which he said would allow the council to proceed with finalising Dr Freckelton’s investigation.
“We have always sought to ensure the independent investigation progressed as quickly as possible in the interest of all parties, as well as in the broader public interest in this matter,” Mr Hanney said.
“The City of Melbourne supports Ms Williams taking her complaint to Victoria Police, which has broad powers to investigate these allegations,” he said.
“When the police investigation is concluded, the findings of Dr Freckelton’s investigation can be made public and we reserve the right to do so in the best interests of all parties.”
The ABC has contacted Mr Doyle’s legal counsel for comment.
In March last year, a report by Dr Freckelton found Mr Doyle’s conduct towards two Melbourne councillors could constitute sexual harassment and gross misconduct.
Dr Freckelton found Mr Doyle deliberately placed his hand on then-councillor Tessa Sullivan’s breast while the lord mayor’s driver was taking them both home one night.
He also found Mr Doyle repeatedly placed his hand in a sexually inappropriate manner on the thigh of Councillor Cathy Oke, and on another occasion tried to kiss her.
Mr Doyle resigned from council in February 2018, about six weeks after Ms Sullivan made allegations against him and resigned from her job as a councillor.
The former lord mayor has publicly and repeatedly denied the accusations against him.
Mr Doyle served as lord mayor of Melbourne from 2008 to 2018 and led the Victorian Liberal Party from 2002 to 2006.
Topics: law-crime-and-justice, courts-and-trials, government-and-politics, local-government, melbourne-3000, vic
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