Selena Lyons to defend allegations she defrauded Wagga Aboriginal organisation of $28,000

THE former head of one of Wagga’s leading Aboriginal organisations will defend allegations she defrauded it of $28,000 at a hearing next year.

Selena Lyons was stood down as chief executive officer of the Riverina Dental and Medical Aboriginal Corporation (RivMed) in May, 2014, after nearly four years in the job, and was sacked five months later.

She later claimed unfair dismissal.

In August this year, it was revealed Lyons had been charged with 28 Commonwealth fraud offences.

She pleaded not guilty to all charges at her first appearance in Wagga Local Court on September 21.

Magistrate Erin Kennedy on Wednesday set aside a whole day on March 18 for a hearing, but noted the case could take longer to finalise.

Lyons was not required to be in court for the mention.

Her solicitor, Duk Vo, told Ms Kennedy a brief of evidence had been served by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, but his firm had sent an email asking for further material.

The court has previously heard the brief of evidence was 20,000 pages.

Mr Vo commented again on the size of the file on Wednesday, describing it as “fairly significant”.

“It is nine lever arch folders,” Mr Vo said.

Ms Kennedy adjourned the case until January 18 for the further material being sought by Mr Vo to be provided by the Commonwealth and to confirm the hearing date.

The prosecution of Lyons follows an investigation by the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.

The registrar alleges that over two-and-a-half years from October 14, 2011, Lyons authorised payment for travel and accommodation allowance for days she was not travelling for work purposes, or another organisation had already paid for her travel, accommodation and meals.

It is also alleged that on one occasion in 2012 Lyons misued RivMed’s credit card by making an unauthorised purchase.

RivMed has provided medical and dental care to Indigenous Australians in the Wagga district since 1988.