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Sentencing Notes: Dominion Finance Directors

[Full decision: R_v_Arkinstall_Bettle__Forsyth__Sentencing.pdf]


IN THE HIGH COURT OF NEW ZEALAND

AUCKLAND REGISTRY
CRI-2010-004-10228

[2013] NZHC 2096

THE QUEEN
v
RICHARD GILBERT BETTLE

VANCE ERIC ARKINSTALL

PAUL WINSTONE FORSYTH

Hearing: 16 August 2013

Appearances: S Symon and J Harley for Crown

TJ Castle, SWB Foote and TA Castle for Messrs Bettle and Arkinstall

P W Forsyth in person

S Mount as Amicus Curiae

Judgment: 16 August 2013


SENTENCING NOTES OF KATZ J


Introduction

[1] Mr Arkinstall and Mr Bettle, you appear for sentence today on five charges under s 58 of the Securities Act 1978 (“Act”). Mr Forsyth, you appear for sentence on seven charges under s 58 of the Act. A charge under s 58 carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, or a fine not exceeding $300,000.

[2] All three of you were directors of Dominion Finance Group Ltd (“Dominion Finance”) and North South Finance Ltd (“North South”). Dominion Finance and North South were both finance companies that were primarily funded by the issue of secured debenture stock, pursuant to registered prospectuses. Both companies appear to have mainly lent to property developers. The companies struck serious trouble in mid-2008 and were subsequently unable to meet their ongoing obligations to debenture holders.

[3] Dominion Finance was placed in receivership on 9 September 2008. At the time it had approximately $176.9 million of debenture stock on issue to 5,937 debenture stock holders. The company subsequently went into liquidation on 15 May 2009. The latest report from the receivers indicates that 12 cents in every dollar of principal owed to investors has been paid.

[4] North South was placed into receivership on 8 July 2010. At the time it had 6,925 investors, with investments totalling $31 million. On 17 December 2010 North South went into liquidation. The latest report from the receivers indicates that 65 cents in every dollar of principal owed to investors has been paid.

[...]

Sentences

Mr Arkinstall

[74] Mr Arkinstall, please stand. I sentence you to a term of 10 months’ home detention and 200 hours’ community work, to be served concurrently, in respect of each of the 5 charges you have been convicted of under the Securities Act.

[75] Given that you reside in Lower Hutt I will defer the commencement of your sentence of home detention to Monday 19 August 2013. On that date you are to remain at the home detention address specified in the pre-sentence report prepared by the Department of Corrections dated 5 August 2013. You are to await the arrival of a probation officer and security officer at that address, for the commencement of your sentence. You are to reside at that address for the duration of your home detention sentence and are not to leave without the prior authorisation of your probation officer. The standard conditions for home detention under s 80C(2) of the Sentencing Act

[Full decision: R_v_Arkinstall_Bettle__Forsyth__Sentencing.pdf]


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