February 07, 2005 | Graham

Sentencing and due process

They say that you should never forgive, and never forget. Ken Jarrett and Robert Lacey might be forgiven for adhering to that litany, and adding another of their own – never confess.
Who are Ken Jarrett and Robert Lacey? They are the members of a reasonably exclusive club of the reluctantly honest. Jarrett was the Elder’s executive who pleaded guilty to his role in syphoning $66.5 million of Elder’s money off through a foreign exchange deal. Jarrett went to jail, but his co-accused, John Elliott, Peter Scanlon and Ken Biggins, escaped on what appeared to be a technicality. The Supreme Court ruled much of the evidence against them inadmissible because the NCA (who was prosecuting the case) had gone beyond their terms of reference in collecting it.
Jarrett must have got some satisfaction from the fact that John Elliott has just been forced into bankruptcy and very public disgrace. Never forgive and never forget.
Robert Lacey was co-accused with Sugar Ray Robinson of stealing $4,800 from the Indigenous Housing and Construction Company. He, like Jarrett, coughed and pleaded guilty. Robinson was acquitted on Friday. Robinson doesn’t deny that he helped to withdraw the money, just that he did it under a mistake as to the legitimacy of withdrawing the funds, and that he derived no personal benefit from them. The jury finding implies that Lacey was a rogue who inveigled Robinson into countersigning the cheques for his own benefit.
Of course one reason why someone might plead guilty and implicate someone else is to limit the severity of their sentence. In this case Lacey fingered Robinson as the instigator, making his role subsidiary, and therefore less blameworthy.
It is also possible he was telling the truth, but the DPI couldn’t make the charge stick “beyond reasonable doubt”. Not that they didn’t try to introduce doubt. Prosecutor Jeff Hunter quizzed Robinson on the $4.3M he had allegedly gambled on poker machines at Crown Casino. On the averages this should have amounted to $615,000 worth of losses. “Where would I get that sort of money from, brother” Robinson said. “We might well want to ask you that,” the Crown replied.
Trial Judge, Charles Brabazon directed that the jury should ignore this evidence – not a technicality, but one might well want to ask Robinson where the money came from.
Something that might have changed the outcome of the Elliott trial, if not the Robinson one, was a suggestion by retiring Supreme Court Judge, Geoff Davies that evidence obtained illegally should be admissible in trials.

Posted by Graham at 11:54 am | Comments Off on Sentencing and due process |
Filed under: Australian Politics

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.