Sensible sentencing for white-collar criminals? | The Jackal

5 Apr 2012

Sensible sentencing for white-collar criminals?

Today, 3 News reported:

A judge at the Auckland High Court has told Bridgecorp boss Rod Petricevic that a prison sentence is inevitable.

Petricevic and fellow director Robbert Roest were found guilty on all 18 charges they faced and have been refused bail ahead of their sentencing.

Non-executive director Peter Steigrad was found guilty on six of 10 charges he faced.

The Crown says it will be seeking tougher penalties than have been handed down yet in any case involving a finance company collapse.

Well that makes a change to the usual soft justice for white-collar criminals.

We've seen numerous cases of investor company fraud involving huge amounts of money where little punishment has been handed down to the perpetrators. The most recent was the Lombard Finance scam that left 4400 investors owed around $127 million.

After being found guilty of breaching the Securities Act (PDF) by making untrue statements to investors, all four directors escaped prison and were instead sentenced to a few hundred hours community service and ordered to pay insignificant fines in comparison to the crimes they committed.

As the most prominent amongst those felons, the ex National Minister of Justice "Sir" Douglas Graham should have at least lost his knighthood.

Being that a knighthood is removed at the discretion of the Prime Minister, it's likely that the convicted criminal Douglas Graham will keep the title, which in my opinion makes the entire honorary process a lot less honorific.