Ex-NT top cop didn't want lover pursued

Greg Roberts

Former NT police chief John McRoberts tried to argue that a group of travel agents, including his lover, should not face criminal charges for defrauding the government but was overruled by then chief minister Adam Giles.

The former head of the NT's health department, Professor Len Notaras, is the latest witness to give evidence that Mr McRoberts, who is on trial accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice, had resisted the criminal investigation into the travel agents.

Mr McRoberts's lover, married woman Xana Kamitsis, was one of a number of travel agents jailed for defrauding taxpayers by rorting a travel concession scheme aimed at helping pensioners see family.

Mr McRoberts pushed for civil rather than criminal action which would just recoup the money and wanted to equally pursue 27 travel agents identified rather than a smaller group of the worst offenders, which included Kamitsis, Prof Notaras told the NT Supreme Court.

"He expressed concern about the tourist industry, which was clearly important in the Territory, concern about the stress for pensioners themselves and political embarrassment, the media would be included in that," Prof Notaras said on Monday.

The trial earlier heard that Mr McRoberts was angry towards senior police when Kamitsis, who was also head of Crime Stoppers NT and a well-known socialite, had been degraded by having to crawl into a paddy wagon while media filmed her.

At a meeting of senior NT political figures in June 2014, among them Mr Giles and Health Minister Robyn Lambley, Mr McRoberts's suggestion of civil action was rejected.

"Mr Giles said he was not concerned and to go in hard ....he was not concerned about the travel industry impact or the impact otherwise," Prof Notaras said.

A multi-agency taskforce involving the police, Treasury and Justice Department was then set up at Mr Giles' instigation which Mr McRoberts embraced, the court heard.

The trial has already heard evidence from senior NT Director of Public Prosecutions lawyer David Morters that Detective Jason Blake was blocked by Mr McRoberts from carrying out a warrant on Kamitsis' business despite a judge approving it.

Mr McRoberts has pleaded not guilty and denies any wrongdoing in relation to the warrant.