The Crown is seeking a custodial sentence for the directors of failed lender Lombard Finance and Investments while the defence is arguing that community service or a fine is more appropriate.
Crown prosecutor Colin Carruthers QC told the High Court in Wellington that a starting point of 2 years to 2 ½ years was appropriate for non-executive directors Douglas Graham, Lawrence Bryant and Bill Jeffries. For former chief executive Michael Reeves, Carruthers said 2 years and 9 months was an appropriate starting point.
Paul Davison QC, council for Graham and Bryant, told the court a sentence of community service or a pecuniary penalty was appropriate for the directors given the lack of dishonesty in their actions.
Judge Robert Dobson is hearing mitigating factors from council today as he prepares to deliver a sentence after finding them guilty making misleading statements in offer documents a month ago.
At the time of the verdict, Judge Dobson said the directors’ offences were a “material step away from the seriousness required for a custodial sentence” and that the law created “criminal liability for what may be no more than a material misjudgement about the accuracy and adequacy of the description of the state of financial health of the company, as directors authorise it in offer documents.”
Property lender Lombard Finance went into receivership in April 2008, owing approximately NZ$127 million to about 4,400 investors.