After 7 weeks of uncertainty, Robert Doyle has officially resigned his position as Lord Mayor of Melbourne following the allegations of sexual misconduct against him. The claims were made by two other councillors in late 2017 and a report detailing misconduct, indecent assault and sexual harassment was presented to Doyle who has fiercely denied the allegations.
Nick Ruskin, Doyle’s layer, said in a statement that his client had felt he was denied fair justice during the investigation by the City of Melbourne. He went on to say that Doyle felt there was a lack of “natural justice” and that the burden of proof was switched to demand Doyle prove his innocence rather than prosecutors proving his guilt.
It was announced on Friday that the investigation into the allegations of Doyle would be delayed as he dealt with serious health issues. Ruskin said that Doyle has been sent to hospital to start “his recovery”.
Arron Wood, the now acting mayor, said that he spoke with Doyle over the phone before the news became public. Wood said that Doyle “didn’t sound good” and that his health had apparently “suffered significantly”.
Wood went on to say that Doyle “didn’t go into any great detail” and made vague references to his “high blood pressure” being the cause of his hospitalisation.
Doyle also quit his position as the chairman of Melbourne Health after a separate investigation revealed another woman had accused him of harassment during a hospital event.
Emma Page, Doyle’s wife, said that the claims against him have brought her husband to the “brink of being broken”. She said that she knew her husband very well and that the allegations were not in “accord with the man I know”.
A City of Melbourne spokesperson said that they had been informed of Doyle’s resignation via his lawyers and that the “formalities of his resignation” would be completed soon. The investigation into the allegations against Doyle would continue according to the city council.
In order to fill the position of Lord Mayor the Victorian Electoral Commission is set to conduct a by-election. Wood said that he was unsure of when the election would take place but that it would only cover the position of mayor, not the entire city council.
On their first meeting of the year, city councillors will meet on Tuesday to discuss the investigation into Doyle. Stephen Mayne, a former councillor, said the city council should make the full report of the investigation available to the public.