Craig David McDonald admits lying to Qld corruption watchdog about supplying drugs, cash to ‘best friend’ lawyer

Blake AntrobusNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

A Gold Coast construction worker and bodybuilder has admitted he lied to the state’s corruption watchdog about supplying drugs and cash to his “best friend” – a colourful Queensland lawyer.

Craig David McDonald’s costly statements to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) have landed him behind bars after he gave false statements to the watchdog about his relationship with high-profile lawyer Campbell MacCallum.

Brisbane Supreme Court was told the pair had been described as “best friends”, but even McDonald’s lawyer seemed confused as to why he told the lies during the investigation.

Camera IconCraig David McDonald pleaded guilty at Brisbane Supreme Court to multiple drug and perjury offences. NCA NewsWire / John Gass Credit: News Corp Australia

McDonald, 34, pleaded guilty on Friday to multiple counts of perjury and supplying and possessing dangerous drugs.

The court was told McDonald’s perjury charges arose from lies he told to the CCC in May last year.

At the time, the watchdog was investigating potential criminal conduct of lawyers in Queensland.

“One of the targets of the operation was solicitor Campbell MacCallum,” crown prosecutor Ryder Reid said.

Mr Reid said McDonald gave false statements to the CCC that he never supplied Mr MacCallum with steroids or did cocaine with the lawyer.

McDonald also denied he gave money to Mr MacCallum or his legal firm, which was then named Moloney MacCallum Abdelshahied Lawyers.

Camera IconThe court was told McDonald (pictured) lied to the corruption watchdog about his relationship with high-profile lawyer Campbell MacCallum, including that he supplied drugs and cash to the colourful solicitor. NCA NewsWire / John Gass Credit: News Corp Australia
Camera IconCampbell MacCallum. Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Reid said McDonald’s phone messages and other communications unearthed during the investigation contradicted his statements.

“The false statements … went to Mr MacCallum’s involvement in illicit drug activity which was in the scope of the CCC’s investigation,” Mr Reid said.

“The defendant regularly arranged and made payment to Mr MacCallum and his legal practice for legal fees.

“The materiality of those false statements … went to MacCallum’s knowledge of and receipt of payments to himself and his legal practice which were the proceeds of criminal drug activity.”

McDonald was not charged with supplying drugs to Mr MacCallum.

Mr MacCallum is also facing a number of charges, including fraud, money laundering and possessing and supplying dangerous drugs and is yet to enter a plea. His case will be mentioned in Brisbane Magistrates Court on a later date.

In November 2019, police discovered phone messages indicating McDonald had been supplying the man-made steroid oxandrolone when a search warrant was executed at his home.

More than 220g of steroids in vial and tablet forms were seized by officers.

Camera IconMcDonald’s defence barrister said his perjury offences were at the lower end of the spectrum as he did not stand to gain anything from the false statements. Credit: News Corp Australia

Small amounts of cocaine, methylamphetamine, diazepam and marijuana, along with more than $2000 in cash were also discovered.

Defence barrister Nicholas Brown said McDonald’s false statements were at the lower end of the spectrum for perjury offences as he was not trying to mislead the CCC.

“It was in the context of giving evidence about someone he considered to be his best friend,” Mr Brown said.

“There was no real prospect of personal gain … it’s somewhat unexplainable why he took that path.”

The court was told McDonald had primary school-level reading and spelling abilities but had qualifications as a carpenter.

Mr Brown said his client had struggled with mental health issues, including a body dysmorphic disorder, but was seeking health assistance.

During sentencing Justice Elizabeth Wilson said some of the offences were more serious as they were committed while McDonald was on parole for a separate sentence.

McDonald received a head sentence of 50 months’ jail. With time served, he will be eligible for parole in January next year.

Originally published as Craig David McDonald admits lying to Qld corruption watchdog about supplying drugs, cash to ‘best friend’ lawyer

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