Qld public servant cleared of nepotism

Sarah Motherwell
The prosecution has abandoned its case against former Queensland education manager Glen Hoppner

A former Education Queensland boss has won the fight to clear his name after he was accused of putting pressure on a subordinate to hire a friend of director-general Julie Grantham.

Glen Arnold Hoppner was stood aside as the southeast regional director in November 2012 and later charged with misconduct following an investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Mr Hoppner stood trial on Monday in the Brisbane District Court but the prosecution abandoned its case halfway through the week after its key witness conceded he may have unfairly interpreted a conversation.

Prosecutor Jacob Robson had argued Mr Hoppner put "unspoken pressure" on David Morgan, the managing director of the Runaway Bay Sport and Leadership Excellence Centre, to appoint Hunter Paltridge as Head of Programs in June 2012.

The job was a six-month position that had been internally advertised as an "expression of interest" (EOI).

Mr Paltridge met Mr Morgan at Ms Grantham's house to discuss the job and his application was later submitted past deadline via an email chain from the director-general and Mr Hoppner

Mr Morgan said he shortlisted Mr Paltridge for an interview even though he scored lower on an evaluation matrix than the top candidates.

Mr Hoppner was alleged to have called Mr Morgan to inform him that Ms Grantham was meeting with Mr Paltridge's boss and that "(Hunter) is the man, it's got to go".

"I caved into that pressure," Mr Morgan said on Tuesday.

But under cross-examination from defence barrister Saul Holt QC, Mr Morgan conceded his interpretation of the conversation may have been "substantially clouded" by his concern about Ms Grantham's influence on the hiring process.

"You have inferred and interpreted unfairly the suggestion that he directed you to appoint Hunter Paltridge," Mr Holt said.

"That's reasonably possible," Mr Morgan replied.

The court heard the because of his position Mr Hoppner could have appointed someone as Head of Programs at any time and that EOI positions were often informally recruited in the public service with no requirement to advertise.

Mr Paltridge is not accused of any wrongdoing.