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Home detention for convicted Lombard Four

Home detention sentences for the Lombard Four are on hold pending their application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeal has just released its full judgment of its dismissal of appeals against conviction and sentence by the Lombard Four – ex-justice minister and chairman Sir Douglas Graham, Bill Jeffries, Lawrie Bryant and Michael Reeves – for giving misleading information about the state of Lombard's loan book just before the company collapsed.

Having ruled the initial sentences were "manifestly inadequate" when they dismissed the four's appeal in May, Justices Tony Randerson, Christine French and John Wild have substituted the businessmen’s penalties of community sentence with home detention.

"In our interim judgment, we concluded that prison sentences should have been adopted as a starting point and that the discounts allowed by the sentencing judge were excessive," the judgest said. "We said that the appropriate final sentences should have been a combination of home detention and community work."

Home detention sentences

Sir Douglas Graham is sentenced to six months' home detention and 200 hours of community work.

Bill Jeffries was given eight months' home detention and 250 hours' community work.

Lawrie Bryant is sentenced to six months' home detention.

Michael Reeves is sentenced to nine months' home detention and 250 hours' community work.

The orders for reparation against Douglas Graham and Bryant of $100,000 remain.

“We are satisfied there is no impediment to any of the respondents completing a sentence of home detention combined with community work with the exception of Mr Bryant whose health has deteriorated since the sentences were imposed in the High Court," the judges said. 

"We are satisfied his health would preclude him from effectively completing a sentence of community work. However, it is not suggested that his health condition would prevent him from serving a sentence of home detention.” 

Sir Douglas’ requirement for daily exercise outside the home can be accommodated with the agreement of the probation officer.

The officer also has power to authorise Jeffries and Reeves to leave their homes for part of each day for employment reasons.

The penalties, which would normally start two weeks after the judgment is issued, have been put on hold to allow for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Queen’s counsel for the men, Jim Farmer, released a statement this morning, saying they have immediately filed with the Supreme Court an application for leave to appeal both the Court of Appeal’s decision dismissing their appeal against conviction and the decision allowing the Crown’s cross-appeal against their non-cutodial sentence, imposing home detention and related penalties in lieu of community service directed by trial judge Justice Robert Dobson

The next step in the Supreme Court process will see the men file written submissions in support of their application for leave, the Crown will respond and the Supreme Court will then come to a decision on the application. 

“Normally, such a process might take about two months to complete. If leave is granted, the Supreme Court would then appoint a fixture for the hearing of the appeals,” Mr Farmer says.

The Lombard Four will not be commenting on the matter while it is before the Supreme Court.

Lombard Finance & Investments – run by a clutch of celebrity directors – collapsed in 2007 owing $127 million to 4400 investors. It was placed in receivership in 2008 owing $111 million to 3600 investors.

Sir Douglas Arthur Montrose Graham is also a former National government Treaty of Waitangi negotiations minister, director Lawrence (Lawrie) Roland Valpy Bryant was an assistant press officer to the Queen from 1970-74, and director William (Bill) Patrick Jeffries, a Wellington barrister, is a former Labour justice and transport minister.

Along with fellow accused Lombard chief executive Michael Reeves, they were convicted, given non-custodial sentences and ordered to pay six-figure reparation.

Formal steps are understood to be under way to strip Sir Douglas of his knighthood in the wake of the Appeal Court's ruling.

gbond@nbr.co.nz

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