Arrest warrant issued for former Ballarat council candidate

Koby Bunney
Koby Bunney

Update June 27:

A former Ballarat council candidate who is accused of failing to submit a form outlining any donations he received during his campaign will face court after a warrant was issued for his arrest. 

Koby Bunney, 36, was charged by the Local Government Inspectorate with failing to send the donations form to Ballarat City Council during his tilt for office in 2016. 

He did not show up to court twice and a warrant was issued for his arrest, but he attended a police station this week and a court date was set down for next month.

Update June 21:

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a former Ballarat council candidate accused of failing to submit a form outlining any donations he received during his campaign.

The Local Government Inspectorate had previously charged prominent LGBT activist Koby Bunney with failing to submit the form to Ballarat City Council’s chief executive during his tilt for office in 2016.

Candidates were required to submit campaign donation forms regardless of whether or not they were elected or whether or not they received any gifts or campaign funding.

Mr Bunney missed his first court appearance last month due to mental health reasons and the case was adjourned until today.

However, Mr Bunney failed to show up to court for a second time, prompting Magistrate Gregory Robinson to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Magistrates can choose to issue warrants when people obligated to show up to court repeatedly fail to appear.

May 14:

A former Ballarat council candidate who allegedly failed to submit a form outlining campaign donations has missed a court appearance due to mental health issues.

Koby Bunney, a prominent LGBT activist, has been charged by the Local Government Inspectorate with failing to inform Ballarat City Council’s chief executive of any donations he received within 40 days of election day in October, 2016.

The 36-year-old was listed to appear before the Ballarat Magistrates Court today but did not show up on medical grounds.

The court was told Mr Bunney was experiencing “heightened stress” following a death in his family.

Candidates were required to submit campaign donation returns regardless of whether or not they were elected or whether they received any gifts or campaign funding.

It remains unclear if Mr Bunney received any donations during his unsuccessful tilt for office in 2016.

Candidates who did not submit their returns by December 1, 2016, were given multiple reminders before and after the deadline, according to the Inspectorate.

Mr Bunney was one of 15 candidates who have been has charged for this offence across Victoria.

“Transparency of campaign funding or support is an essential element of the democratic process and failing to do so can carry heavy court-imposed fines,” the Inspectorate said.

In his election pitch, Mr Bunney told The Courier increasing support for Ballarat’s LGBT community was one of his top priorities.

He will return to court next month.