Former Fraser Coast mayor Chris Loft leaving the Hervey Bay court house during day 1 of his trial
Former Fraser Coast mayor Chris Loft leaving the Hervey Bay court house during day 1 of his trial

Former mayor speaks out about jail experience

FORMER Fraser Coast mayor Chris Loft has given his first interview since he was released from jail earlier this year.

The former mayor of the Fraser Coast Regional Council was sentenced to 12 months' jail, suspended after six months, after being found guilty in Hervey Bay District Court of using his position to push for his former campaign manager Brian Downie to be appointed to a newly created chief-of-staff role.

The calm before the storm as the new Fraser Coast Regional Council was sworn in - (L) Denis Chapman, James Hansen, David Lewis, Anne Maddern, Daniel Sanderson, Mayor Chris Loft, Rolf Light, George Seymour, Paul Truscott, Stuart Taylor and Darren Everard.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
The calm before the storm as the new Fraser Coast Regional Council was sworn in - (L) Denis Chapman, James Hansen, David Lewis, Anne Maddern, Daniel Sanderson, Mayor Chris Loft, Rolf Light, George Seymour, Paul Truscott, Stuart Taylor and Darren Everard.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

It came after he was sacked as mayor in February 2018 amid "serial breaches", Queensland Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said.

Speaking to ABC Wide Bay, Mr Loft said he had spent much of his time in prison reading.

He described the moment he was found guilty by the jury and led to the watch-house as "shattering".

And he said his sentence did not  "pass the pub test".

"When the jury said 'guilty' and the judge said 'six months', and then I had to walk in the watch house giving my wife and family a glance of goodbye, it was a shattering moment," he told the ABC.

"When I went into the Hervey Bay watch house I asked one of the police officers if he had any books, he opened up a cupboard and inside was The Gideons Bible and I said 'I'll have one of those', and I also picked a copy of The Da Vinci Code."

He spent much of his sentence at a prison farm, describing the main prison as "hell on earth" because of the noise.

Mr Loft said he felt he still had the support of the community.

"I have not been spat on, most people know my time in prison does not pass the pub test, so be it," he said.


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