Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Former Gunns boss John Gay avoids jail for insider trading

The former chairman of the failed Tasmanian timber company Gunns has avoided jail for insider trading and has instead been fined $50,000.

John Gay was at the helm of Gunns in December 2009 when he sold 3.4 million of his shares.

A month earlier he had seen a private management report highlighting an expected drop in profits.

Gunns’ share price then plunged at the release of its half yearly results.

In sentencing, Justice David Porter told the Supreme Court in Launceston the offending wasn’t in the serious category of insider trading.

Gay pleaded guilty to insider trading on the basis he should have known he had information that may have influenced shareholders if it was made public.

His lawyer says Gay was not motivated by Gunns’ financial troubles, but by his wish to reduce debt when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The maximum penalty is five years’ jail.

ABC here

Justice David Porter: Comments on passing sentence: “I have been provided with a large amount of testimonial material. There are letters of support from the offender’s immediate family and nine friends or close associates. There are character references from some 44 people from various backgrounds, those people being friends, associates, business associates and former employees. It is unnecessary to detail any of this material. Its effect is to show the offender as a person of exemplary character, a generous and caring person of honesty and integrity who was principally motivated by the desire to help the local community, and Tasmania generally. This was not only through employment and business opportunities, but it involved much support for the community and sporting organisations. It extended to helping individuals who needed a helping hand, such as young unemployed persons, ex-prisoners, and other people facing unemployment and homelessness … I consider that the sentence of appropriate severity in all of the circumstances of this case is a conviction and a substantial fine. You are convicted of the one count of insider trading and fined the sum of $50,000.” Full comments by Justice David Porter here

Australian Shareholders Association Media Release: ASA disappointed with John Gay penalty “ASA chairman Ian Curry said the modest $50,000 fine imposed by the judge was insufficient and the automatic 5 year ban from managing a company would not have much impact on Mr Gay. “This was the first time that an ASX100 chairman pleaded guilty to insider trading and the judge missed a golden opportunity to send a wider deterrence message throughout the business community,” Mr Curry said. “ Media release here

Stephen Mayne on Twitter: “This whole sad & sorry Gunns story is an indictment on Tasmania’s systems and governance, including today’s decision”. See here

Heidi-Lee Douglas: Ex Gunns Ltd Chairman John Gay sentenced for insider trading as documentary about ‘Gunns20 …

Stephen Jeffery, in Comments: “Call me an optimist, but I predict an outbreak of people prostating themselves before the court.”

• Don Ford, in Comments: Sold 3,555,555 shares at 90 cents each netting $3.2 million. When shares plummeted to 68.5, value of the shares dropped to $2,435,555. Effectively $764,445 he could have lost if he had sold later. Unlike other shareholders who had no inside knowledge. ASIC believe they have been effective with a fine of $50 000. When the fine is taken from $764,445, he is still $714,445 ahead. Is the ASIC “message” to company directors that insider trading still pays profits; even after fines.

• Garry Stannus, in Comments: John Hawkins (#33) makes a telling point – a point that infects the whole of Justice Porter’s “comments in passing sentence”. It is incumbent on the Judge to remedy his error. John Gay had day to day knowledge of the company’s position because he was CEO. This knowledge he must have held well before the compilation of that ‘inside report’. Justice Porter’s ‘slap on the wrist’ sentencing remarks are an affront to the community. I consider the judge’s remarks as telling evidence of what John Hawkins has for quite some years maintained … that Tasmania is a corrupt state. I don’t know what will prove to be the most appropriate vehicle that will overturn this excuse for legal reasoning, but I will look for it. I wish Bob McMahon was still with us. He would have had the words that I lack. And the others that died along the way … Ben and Steve come to mind. I know there are others. Then there are the people of the Tamar Valley, who (not to put too fine a point on the matter) were lied to and cheated. Bob McMahon consistently and lucidly put the argument that the mill could never actually operate … that the business case simply did not stack up. Justice Porter has entered history with his pretence at sentencing. I know that many in the community understand that not only did John Gay do us wrong, but that so too has Justice Porter failed the Tasmanian community. Justice Porter has failed to deliver justice.

• Patrick Durkin in the Australian Financial Review: In the same Launceston court this month, 48-year-old Larry Graue, who had no prior convictions and contributed to the community through voluntary and sporting organisations, was convicted of stealing 35 shipping containers worth $71,000 to repay debts. Having pleaded guilty, Graue was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and a non-parole period of six months.

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87 Comments

87 Comments

  1. Garry Stannus

    August 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    I have to say sorry and correct an error that I made in comments at #41 and #47. I wrote that John Gay, at the time of selling the shares, had been both CEO and Chairman. As John Hawkins has made clear in his “A Tasmanian Houdini…” [http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/weblog/article/a-tasmanian-houdini/show_comments], it was Greg L’Estrange who was newly the CEO at that time. This means that my remarks regarding the integrity of Justice Porter’s sentencing of Gay were not based on fact and were possibly wrong. In essence the judge had said that Gay’s crime wasn’t seriously culpable because he’d made the decision to sell the shares before he became aware of Gunns parlous position. If this is true, I would have to temper my criticism of the judge’s sentencing. My point had been that had Gay been CEO at the time, such exculpatory reasoning simply wasn’t credible. However, the question still remains:

    “Did John Gay have knowledge of the true position of the company when he decided to sell those shares?”

    Unfortunately, by pleading guilty ‘on the basis that he should have known’, John Gay avoided answering that question. That guilty plea worked very well for him. He and his supporters can now claim ‘Oh yes, he should have known’ (but was hampered by his illness and medication). We on the other hand still have the feeling that he did know. But it is possible that we’ll never get that question answered.

  2. John Biggs

    August 26, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    #82,#87. I received something a little different, didnlt mention unable to comment further. This:
    Dear Mr Biggs

    Thank you for your enquiry

    You can find the information you need on our website at: http://www.ASIC.gov.au/complain

    Due to the unique nature of each enquiry ASIC is not able to provide interpretations or recommendations specific to some enquiries or circumstances. If you require further information please seek independent advice through an ASIC registered agent, your accountant or solicitor.

    Regards,

    Ashlee
    Customer Service Officer
    Australian Securities & Investments Commission
    Ph: 1300 300 630

    Good to see universal condemnation of the judgement in today’s Letters in Mercury.

  3. Anne

    August 26, 2013 at 5:47 am

    Yes Garry #82 I’ve received the exact same email reply from ASIC, and I’m also wondering what else – if anything – I can do to take this matter further. Imagine everyone who wrote to ASIC has received the same. It’s outrageous that Gay is getting off so lightly after causing so much damage and destruction to the lives and fortunes of so many people.

  4. Bloke

    August 26, 2013 at 2:38 am

    Ah, Big Red . My thoughts exactly. I was sure i read somewhere that any proceeds from a crime are to be forfeited.

    So if Mr Gay is charged with a crime, pleads guilty to a crime, and is fined for a crime should he not be required to forfeit the proceeds of that crime?

    On another matter, why does i before e except after c not apply to forfeit?

  5. Pat Caplice

    August 26, 2013 at 2:38 am

    Garry Stannus #82 Good tip about contacting the Commonwealth DPP with concerns about John Gay’s sentence.

    I contacted the Canberra head office ( inquiries@cdpp.gov.au ) as well as the Hobart office ( hobart@cdpp.gov.au ).

    Pat

  6. TGC

    August 26, 2013 at 2:07 am

    No pain here #83- it’s just a news item.

  7. Gary

    August 26, 2013 at 1:44 am

    #81 And yet TGC,you’re still reading it! Cheer up mate, we can tell you’re hurting, to see your personal hero brought so low. This article is still near the top of TT’s front page, and the many comments, including yours at number eighty one reveal a high level of interest. What a shame the EX didn’t allow the people to express their disappointment with this travesty of justice either online or in print. Enjoy your chips.

  8. Garry Stannus

    August 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Today I received a reply from ASIC which included the following:

    “Thank you for your email of 24 August 2013 about the recent conviction of John Eugene Gay in the Supreme Court of Tasmania.
    Please find below a link to a media release on ASIC’s website about this matter:

    http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/asic.nsf/byHeadline/13-226MR Former Gunns chairman convicted of insider trading?opendocument

    Unfortunately, we are unable to comment further on this matter. You can find more information about ASIC’s approach to enforcement and our approach to public comment in the following information sheets which are available on ASIC’s website:
    Information Sheet 151: ASIC’s approach to enforcement
    [link supplied]
    Information Sheet 152: Public comment
    [link supplied]
    I hope you find this information useful.
    Kind regards,
    […]”

    Please note that the above web address is not live, but will (fingers crossed) work if you paste it into your address bar. I’m not sure what to do. Something in one of the links caused me to wonder whether it should be to the Director of Public Prosecutions (Commonwealth) that we direct our approaches.

  9. TGC

    August 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Even TT has relegated this matter to the bottom of the pile: fish and chip wrapper.

  10. Big Red

    August 25, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    What about the Proceeds of Crime legislation?

    I’ve just heard an ABC news item that says there’s a chance Gay may have to repay any profit he made on the sale of his shares. Yippee!

  11. PB

    August 25, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Gay shares sale scrutiny Ex-Gunns boss faces insider trade counts

    Hobart Mercury (Australia) – Friday, November 25, 2011

    Author: NICK CLARK

    FORMER Gunns chairman John Gay , who is facing insider trading charges, also sold a large bundle of shares in December 2008 exactly a year before the transaction subject to current Australian Securities and Investments Commission charges.

    Mr Gay is set to appear in the Launceston Magistrates Court on December 13 to face two counts of insider trading in December 2009.

    Analysis of changes of directors’ interest statements to the ASX show that Mr Gay and current Gunns Limited director Richard Millar, through companies they jointly owned, BFI Pty Limited and Swindon Pty Ltd, sold 3.4 million shares on December 17, 2008, at a price of 80 cents.

    Gunns reported a half-year profit of $33 million in February.

    The 2008 sale is not part of the current ASIC proceedings, which relate to a December 2009 transaction that came before Gunns reported a 98 per cent per cent drop in annual profit to $420,000.

    Gunns shares fell 22 per cent on the day of the announcement and finished the week 35 per cent lower at just 57c.

    The charges against Mr Gay relate to two sales totalling 3.4 million shares between December 2 and December 9, 2009.

    The sale at 90 cents a share yielded Mr Gay $3.09 million.

    ASIC alleges that Mr Gay possessed information that if declared publicly would be likely to materially affect the price and value of the securities.

    Both the December 2008 and 2009 sales would have breached the Gunns Limited Share Trading Policy, which was subsequently released in December 2010.

    The policy restricted designated employees from dealing in shares from: * December 1 until the day following release of the half-year financial report. * June 1, until the day following the release of the annual financial report. * The period 30 days before the company annual general meeting.

    The policy emphasises that in addition to the legal requirement to prohibit insider trading, the public perception of trading activity by directors and employees is important to the company’s reputation and integrity.

    Mr Gay’s sale in 2009 caused significant institutional dissatisfaction and contributed to them forcing him out of the company in May 2010.

    Mr Gay is a director of two Tasmanian companies with timber interests: Specialty Veneers , which has bought the Somerset veneer mill; and Neville Smith Forest Products, which has bought a mill in Launceston.

  12. PB

    August 25, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Gunns boss slams `lack of compliance’

    Australian, The (Australia) – Friday, October 5, 2012

    Author: MATTHEW DENHOLM, TASMANIA CORRESPONDENT

    TRYING to instil a culture of compliance at Gunns Ltd was a “nightmare”, dumped chief executive Greg L’Estrange has told a hearing into insider trading charges against the company’s former chairman.

    Mr L’Estrange told the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday that he had found it very difficult to establish a compliance culture at the timber firm, now in administration. “It’s not a company with a culture of compliance with . . . policies,” he told Australian Securities & Investments Commission investigators in a statement read to the court.

    Mr L’Estrange, sacked by Gunns administrators PPB Advisory last week, was giving evidence in preliminary proceedings of charges against former company chairman John Gay .

    Mr Gay has pleaded not guilty to two counts of insider trading over his disposal of 3.4 million shares in December 2009, when it is alleged he was in possession of a management report that pointed to massive declines in earnings and profit.

    Mr L’Estrange told the court he did not approve of Mr Gay’s actions in selling the shares.

    “It was my personal view that it was inappropriate,” he said. However, he conceded he formed his view before knowing all the facts behind Mr Gay’s decision.

    The court heard that Mr Gay wanted to sell the shares to “get his affairs in order” because he had received a bad diagnosis in relation to his prostate cancer . It also heard Mr Gay failed to follow Gunns’s share trading policy, which required senior executives and directors to seek written permission before trading shares.

    However, Mr L’Estrange gave evidence that he, too, had breached this policy, although by buying shares — not selling them — and had not been aware of the policy’s existence at the time. “When I bought shares, I didn’t comply . . . with the policy,” he said. “I always thought selling — not buying shares — was the issue.”

    On February 22, 2010, Gunns reported a 98 per cent plunge in December half-earnings to $420,000, with the fall caused by operational issues, mainly a fall in woodchip demand and prices.

    The announcement saw the Gunns share price fall rapidly from 88c to 68.5c.

    Prosecutors argue Mr Gay, who resigned months later, possessed inside information — an October 2009 management report — that he ought to have known was not generally available. They argue that if the information in the report — a 103 per cent decline in year-to-date earnings and a 139 per cent drop in profits before tax — had been generally available, a reasonable person would have expected it to have a material effect on the price or value of Gunns’s shares.

    Mr L’Estrange told the court that figures in monthly management reports did not factor in non-trading issues that might impact on final results. He also agreed the reports — including the October 2009 report relied upon by the prosecution — contained errors, some significant.

    And he agreed, under questioning from Mr Gay’s lawyer, Phillip Priest QC, that if this report had been released publicly, it may have misled the market.

  13. PB

    August 25, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Talks with Swedes on mill, says Gunns

    Hobart Mercury (Australia) – Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Author: NICK CLARK

    GUNNS is negotiating with Swedish firm Sodra as well as “several” other potential joint-venture partners for its $2.2 billion Bell Bay pulp mill.

    “I won’t put a timeline on it but I am confident that in the long term the pulp mill will get finance,” chairman John Gay said.

    He said Gunns expected external equity investment in the project to be 40 per cent.

    “The company is also in dialogue with a number of parties regarding equity investment in the project,” Mr Gay said.

    “The Swedish forest products co-operative Sodra is one of these parties.

    “The parties are continuing to work through detailed discussions in relation to the investment.

    “The company is continuing to work positively with its banking group to close project finance facilities.”

    Gunns pulp-mill project general manager Les Baker told the annual meeting in Launceston yesterday Gunns had resolved landowner opposition to the Lake Trevallyn to Bell Bay pipeline.

    Mr Baker said the company had “moved around” opposition from East Tamar landowners.

    Mr Gay was asked by a shareholder about rumours he had cancer and whether it should affect his re-election.

    “Does anything look to be wrong with me today?” he said.

    Mr Gay also said Gunns had a long-term aim to transform itself from a native woodchip business to a plantation-based company.

    The Wilderness Society welcomed the talks with Sodra, which has said any pulp mill must be 100 per cent plantation-based and totally chlorine-free.

    “Gunns will have to undertake major reforms to meet the preconditions set by Sodra, such as ending the logging of native forests and not using litigation against community members standing up for the protection of their environment,” campaigner Paul Oosting said.

    Mr Oosting said the Wilderness Society, which recently met Mr Gay, would oppose the Tamar Valley as a suitable site for a mill.

    Mr Gay said $154 million had been spent on the mill so far.

    The meeting was told $2.8 million had been spent on prosecuting members of the Gunns 20.

    Anti-pulp mill group TAP said it had received information a Japanese pulp and paper group was involved in discussions with Gunns.

  14. Geraldine de Burgh-Day

    August 25, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    The following is my message today posted with ASIC.

    John Gay has received a ‘slap on the wrist’ sentence for massive insider trading, and avoided any time in custody.
    Why?
    One only needs to look at the background of many board members – they were his friends and advisors. Are any of them also culpable by association of defrauding the shareholders?
    Looking at the company’s accounts over the last 10 years, it is clear to see the creative accounting that was used to give the impression of a solvent company. Revalue your plantations, show a questionable future project as having sufficient value to show “solvency”. etc.
    Meantime, the company is using new investor cash to pay old debt.
    This charade could only end in tears, hurting thousands of investors, supernatants, farmers, forestry workers, contractors, communities.
    How long was this going on?
    Who else on the board got their assets out in time to be unassailable in the courts? (and yet remained as directors)
    So why the sudden turn from an innocent plea by John Gay to guilty?
    A plea bargain, because too many heads would be in danger of exposure in a proper trial?
    Clever John Gay! His guilty plea gets so many off the hook!
    Or does it?
    Please review the sentence in the light of the past 10 years management of the Company including the roles various Directors played.
    Gunns was the perfect Scam!
    ASIC, PLEASE DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THIS PATHETIC RESULT.

  15. Isla MacGregor

    August 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Under the Crime and Corruption Commission Act WA judges are equally subject to any possible investigation for misconduct as any other public official.

    It is time that the Integrity Commission Act was scrapped as under this act it is still considered that some people are above the law – especially the untouchables in the judiciary. Bring on a CCC Act in Tas.

    Let’s allow another look at the decision making process and conduct of Porter, Blow and Ellis.

    As usual the Greens are nowhere to be seen on this most important watch dog issue for Tasmania.

  16. Philip Lowe

    August 25, 2013 at 4:16 am

    TGC No 58.You are probably right.What a sad,sick state of affairs if you are.How frighteningly depressing this case is.What a body blow to the common decency of the majority of the Tasmanian people.How cynical must this have made so many.The brass neck of the man.How insecure he must be.Does he feel clever and proud.Do his mates feel secure in the power that they have over the judiciary?????The English speaking club that gives the world so many standards will hang its head in shame.

  17. Karl Stevens

    August 25, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Cathran Bowyer 72 I remember Rod from the Meander Valley asking that question inside Gunns AGM. It must have been 2009. JG said something like ‘have a look at me?’ when asked if he was too sick to remain on the board.

  18. Cathran Bowyer

    August 24, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Karl 69:
    We remember that day in 2009 very well. The person who asked the very legitimate question was approached in the car after the close of the AGM. The two company heavies asked him why he had asked such a stupid f****** question! They then threatened him with security.

    It seems that particular question caused the most angst for Gay, they were just not expecting it. He didn’t lie on the day though, he just said “I’m here aren’t I?” (I also think he asked “do I look sick?” but not 100% certain, maybe someone else can verify?) to which his supporters loudly applauded.

    They must have gone into damage control ordering the Examiner to print the denial headline the next day.

    If Judge Porter sees Gay as an exemplary honest character I question his judgment!

    Here’s hoping the class action has a better chance.

  19. Peter Bright

    August 24, 2013 at 10:51 pm

  20. Mike Adams

    August 24, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Further hiccups.

    The URL address I used to question ASIC is:

    http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/ASIC.NSF/byHeadline/Contacting us

    The gremlins evidently nibbled at my previously given ASIC addresses (65 and 66)

    The rest of the procedure used is as above in 65.

  21. Karl Stevens

    August 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Cathran Bowyer 60. Denying you have cancer and then using it as defense in a criminal trial is a sign of ‘exemplary character’. The newspaper that published that report is an exemplary media outlet and the Liberal and Labor Parties are of exemplary character for always supporting the Gunns. The Greens are an ‘exemplary’ party for propping-up the exemplary characters of Lara Giddings and Bryan Green. You can see why Tasmania is so exemplary because they are all setting such an exemplary example for each other?

  22. Gary

    August 24, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    #58, “Lots of comments: all the same: only a handful of contributors (the usual suspects)” Sounds a lot like your beloved Examiner TGC? Except for one glaring and inexplicable difference.. The Examiner online has published at least four articles on Gay’s sentencing, and not one of them has been made open for public comments. The convicted criminal has friends in low places methinks.

  23. Observant

    August 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    The lenient sentence given to Mr Gay appears to be manifestly inadequate considering the crime and other past cases.

    It is not in line with community expectations and serves as no deterrent to others contemplating doing the same.

  24. Mike Adams

    August 24, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    No 65. There’s a hiccup somewhere. In the above ASIC internet address, please insert between ‘Contacting’ and ‘us’.

  25. Mike Adams

    August 24, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I’ve had reports that people trying to contact ASIC are unsure if their messages have been accepted. They have not received a reference number.

    I contacted http://www.asic,gov.au/ADSIC.NSF/byHeadline/Contacting us

    Clicked on ‘Ask a question online’. Got a list of FAQs and found none relevant, so clicked on ‘Ask a question online’ again (this was also an option on this page)
    >
    > Next up was a ‘General Inquiry Form’ which I filled in. Clicked ‘Submit’ at the foot of it and next on the screen was a page with my reference number.
    >
    > Shortly after received an E-mail from ASIC regretting delay in responding but hoping to do so in a couple of days.
    >
    > My question was asking if ASIC was satisfied with the sentence, and if so, it would seem that in these circumstances, crime did pay.

    Rgds, Mike Adams

  26. Anne

    August 24, 2013 at 5:34 am

    As others have said this decision stinks. It’s interesting that Gay has used the seriousness of his prostate cancer as an excuse for his insider trading dealings, yet he felt it was OK not to disclose this same serious illness to the ASX. AS CEO and chairman of a publicly listed company he was required to advise such information, yet he denied being seriously ill when the question was asked by a shareholder opposed to the pulp mill at an AGM.

    http://www.examiner.com.au/story/487462/gunns-chairman-john-gay-denies-cancer-rumours/

    Hardly supports the claim he is of ‘exemplary character’.

    This outrageous travesty of justice – that ASIC seems to think is an acceptable outcome – merely signals to the rest of corporate Australia that should they be thinking of following in Gay’s greedy footsteps, then the risk is worth taking, because the punishment will in no way reflect the seriousness of the crime. And stuff the poor ordinary mortals that might lose their savings along the way.

    I’ve also written to ASIC to express my disgust at their pathetically weak response to this decision. I sincerely hope they receive an avalanche of similar expressions of justified outrage.

  27. Geoff Smedley

    August 24, 2013 at 3:48 am

    All should become members of this club this was even more lenient that what was expected even among ‘mates’ Proud to be Tasmanian!

  28. Claire Gilmour

    August 24, 2013 at 2:38 am

    (re 53) “… but the Judge’s sentencing comments in this case …”

    That’s what struck me, as absolutely worrying!!

    Sincerely hope you do ‘stand’ ready for the next round Ben Quin. We need a few more good, integrity based champions.

  29. Observant

    August 24, 2013 at 2:14 am

    I take it the character references referred to were all good ones. What happened to the others?

    It was a bit rich when Mr Gay jumped in first and grabbed the free parking spots right at the front door of the Holman Cancer Clinic. In doing this he pushed other poor people out to feed the parking meters; and made them walk further in great pain whilst truly terminally ill.

    A caring person? helping individuals who needed a helping hand?

    Maybe it will turn out the only good thing about the Decision is that Mr Gay is now free to make a very sizeable donation to the Holman Clinic.
    This should have been part of the deal.

  30. Cathran Bowyer

    August 24, 2013 at 2:06 am

    The front page of the Examiner dated November 11th 2009 carried the headline “Gunns Chairman John Gay Denies Cancer Rumours.”

    http://www.examiner.com.au/story/487462/gunns-chairman-john-gay-denies-cancer-rumours/

    I believe he told the prosecution he was diagnosed before he made this statement after the 2009 AGM?

    I just love this quote from the article:

    “GUNNS chairman John Gay yesterday laughed off suggestions he was ill with cancer as he was returned as a director at the company’s general meeting.

    “Does anything look to be wrong with me today?” he scoffed.”

  31. TGC

    August 24, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Lots of comments: all the same: only a handful of contributors (the usual suspects) Pretty low-key response really suggesting the overwhelming majority of Tasmanians don’t care one way or the other.

  32. john hayward

    August 24, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Ben Quin, #53.

    The very lenient sentence for a serious offender, Porter’s praise of Gay’s “exemplary character”, and the post-trial insouciance displayed by Gay are all of a piece.

    Launceston has bolstered its credentials as an ideal place for ramming through dodgy development proposals and court challenge rejections with the minimum of scrutiny and publicity.

    Bureaucratic overheads should be minimal under a new PM who appears to regard industry regulation as a form of communism

    John Hayward

  33. Peter Henning

    August 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Comment challenged, adjudicated and judged off-topic.

  34. Heather Donaldson

    August 23, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    #43 Thanks Pat for the link. I have put in a message too but it looks like the system is swamped !

    ………”Thank you for your inquiry.

    We are currently receiving a high number of requests for assistance in relation to this service. Due to this high demand, our current email response time is two business days.

    We are working very hard to clear our inquiry backlog and resolve underlying issues, and we apologise for the delay in resolving your inquiry.”

    ….. good to know we are not alone !!

  35. isla macgregor

    August 23, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    comment deleted

  36. Ben Quin

    August 23, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Was Gay under oath when entering his guilty plea? If so, John Hawkins submission at no 33. raises two further points of law:

    – Has Gay perjured himself? In his plea of guilty, he made statements to the effect that he did not know he was in possession of price sensitive information at the time he sold his shares.

    – If he did not perjure himself, can the fact that the CEO (and I assume therefore, the rest of the Board) was not aware of such crucially price sensitive information, be used in a class action by disadvantaged Gunns shareholders?

    I am personally unconcerned about whether Gay’s sentence for insider trading is lenient or not. I only want the haze to clear over this period in our history. Not the sentence, but the Judge’s sentencing comments in this case, coupled with the seemingly glib excuses offered by Gay, do not provide comfort that justice has really been served.

    A significant proportion of Tasmanians believe that Gunns cheated and lied their way to obtain the pulp mill permits and supporting wood supply agreement, and was allowed to do so by the Parliament. This has infected our polity with an awful mistrust of our system of governance and justice.

    The circumstances of this case suggest that the matter of whether or not the pulp mill permits have expired will be settled with the same pattern of roguish collusion amongst pulp mill boosters.

    State and Federal Liberal parties will “rip up” the recent peace agreement, even if it is passed by the Upper House. Abbott plans a new Federal agency in Launceston to streamline approvals major projects. Which ones, I wonder, that could support such a bureaucratic overhead?

    I stand ready for the next round.

  37. John Biggs

    August 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    #43. Thansk for that link Pat. I have posted a question and hope others do the same.

  38. Elliot Ness

    August 23, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    #50 Little birdy tells me one expert witness alone cost the taxpayer $50K. Watch this space.

  39. injustice

    August 23, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    The tax payer will pick up the bill. The silks and court costs alone would tally more than 50G.

  40. Ann Adams

    August 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    This has set a precedent for further insider trading. I am disgusted with the outcome of this, one law for the rich is it?

  41. Peter Henning

    August 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    #27 & #34. Thanks for that info re Reve Rivkin. According to various news reports of Rivkin’s sentence in 2003 for buying 50,000 Qantas shares while having inside knowledge of a merger between Qantas and Impulse Airlines which was about to take place, he was fined $30,000, given a nine month part-custodial sentence and banned for life from stockbroking.

    According to the Wikipedia entry on Rivkin, he only made a profit of between $2-3,000 on the deal, so if that is true his sentence was much more severe than the one handed down to Gay.

    Even if his profit had been ten times that, it would have been the equivalent to the fine he was given.

    Also, Rivkin’s deal, on the face of it, did not impact on the fortunes of others in the way that Gay’s did, in the sense that those who bought Gay’s shares made a substantial loss.

    I am not a lawyer, but inside-trading cases are rare, so it would seem strange that the precedent of the Rivkin case, even though in a different Australian jurisdiction, should not be considered as relevant in relation to the Gay case.

    If the Rivkin sentence is compared with that of Gay, and the issue of “seriousness” taken into account, the conclusion is quite clear – Gay was treated with extreme lenience by comparison.

    Perhaps it is also pertinent to note, given the rarity of inside trader cases, that comparison of the Gay sentence with sentences for embezzlement involving large sums of money shows that embezzlers are dealt with much more harshly than Gay has been.

    There are many things in relation to the whole Gay case which require answers, and the nature of the sentence is one of them. Another question relates to the period of time between when the charges were first laid, more than three years ago, and final sentence. The whole process, like so much else in Tasmania, is totally devoid of transparency.

  42. Garry Stannus

    August 23, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Thank you Pat Caplice (#43). I used the link you provided to also register a question with ASIC. I had a bit of trouble … Fingers crossed, I hope it got through … but I’m not sure, so I’ll have a second go at it. … Here is the (final) text of what I posted:

    “Will ASIC appeal against the conviction and the $50,000 fine imposed on John Gay yesterday by Justice Porter?

    The judge’s remarks obscured the fact that John Gay, as well as being the then Chairman of the Board of Gunns Ltd, was also the company’s Chief Executive Officer and as such had day to day knowledge of Gunns’ true position, not only before he sold the shares, and before the compilation of the ‘inside report’, but also, before the earlier AGM – the meeting at which in Justice Porter’s own words:

    “The reports did not reveal the significant extent of Gunns’ financial underperformance, nor did they provide any specific figures about the company’s revenue, EBIT or PBT in the year to date. Whilst Gunns’ financial underperformance was alluded to, the information in issue was not made publicly available. That is, the monthly figures provided to Board members were not specifically given to those attending the AGM, nor were they released to the market at that time. Such monthly figures were not customarily released.”

    Thus, the sentencing decision of Justice Porter is flawed, and I ask that on behalf of the community, ASIC make an appeal against this perverse sentencing decision.”

    For those who think John Gay’s slap-on-the-wrist sentence was inappropriate, why not tell ASIC, now, at …

    1: http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/asic.nsf/byheadline/FAQs+-+main+page?openDocument

    and then when their page opens…

    2: use their hotlink “submit your question online”.

  43. john hayward

    August 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    John Hawkins, #33, should remember that the omission of inconvenient facts, particularly jaw-droppers and game-changers, as a judicial discretion is well established in Tasmanian law.

    Do you wish any more examples?

    John Hayward

  44. Paul de Burgh-Day

    August 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I am totally in favour of flooding ASIC with complaints about the John Gay judgment by Justice Porter.
    Staggering how blatant it is!
    A two fingered message to the people of Tasmania!

    I have sent the following message to ASIC.
    Thanks to #43 Pat Caplice for the link

    I am a retired businessman.
    My complaint is about the derisory penalty imposed on John Gay, former chairman AND CEO of Gunns Limited.
    The $50,000 fine imposed in a major Insider Trading case is manifestly inadequate.
    From news reports, ASIC will be well aware of the situation.

    I argue that ASIC must appeal the Tasmanian Supreme Court judgment in the High Court of Australia. Or make use of other legislation and/or laws to seek a more appropriate penalty.

    Regrettably, the Tasmanian Court decision serves only to reinforce long-standing perceptions of a corrupt legal process in this state.

  45. Doug Nichols

    August 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    In my opinion too much is being made of the distinction between knowing and “should have known”. Such clauses are common in insurance policies. A travel insurance policy might say, for example, that you don’t have to mention anything that the insurer should already know in the course of their business. Are we to assume, therefore, that insurance companies can decline to pay a claim by arguing that, while they certainly should have known something, they in fact didn’t? I don’t think so. When I see that clause in writing in a policy – and assuming we are talking about something that the insurer genuinely should know – the wording is quite unambiguous to me.

    So how come it is possible to get a dramatically more lenient sentence for insider trading by claiming exactly the same kind of thing?

  46. Pat Caplice

    August 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Link for ASIC below …

    My comment to them

    John Gay, former chairman and CEO of Gunns, has been sentenced to a fine of $50000 for insider trading, trades that realised him an illegal return of $800000. He received no custodial sentence.
    Despite his admission of guilt, he has still profited around $750000, less legal costs on these illegal trades.
    I urge ASIC to appeal this manifestly inadequate sentence.
    Pat Caplice Reference Number: 87507597

    https://www.edge.asic.gov.au/008/inquiryV001?get/inquiryDetails/t=ff0a4d74e3f71fa9230fec1e88b8593dca3e94

  47. pilko

    August 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    A few weeks ago Vica Bayley & Nick Mckim quick to condemn forest defenders.

    Where is their condemnation of Gay’s slap on the wrist sentence & calls for a commission of inquiry into relationship between Gunns & successive Tasmanian Governments?

    Garry Stannus you now acknowledge Tasmania is a truly corrupt state yet you defend a policy of voiding the protest & campaigning space against the Tasmanian logging industry. The source of the criminal activity at hand.

    This week the TFA environmental axis was rolled again by the mates when the ALP decoupled TFA money from forests.

    Garry are you starting to worry yet about what may be brewing while Tasmania is asked to live on its knees so the mates give us our forests back?

    You should be. We all should be.

  48. Garry Stannus

    August 23, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    John Hawkins (#33) makes a telling point – a point that infects the whole of Justice Porter’s “comments in passing sentence”. It is incumbent on the Judge to remedy his error. John Gay had day to day knowledge of the company’s position because he was CEO. This knowledge he must have held well before the compilation of that ‘inside report’.

    Justice Porter’s ‘slap on the wrist’ sentencing remarks are an affront to the community. I consider the judge’s remarks as telling evidence of what John Hawkins has for quite some years maintained … that Tasmania is a corrupt state.

    I don’t know what will prove to be the most appropriate vehicle that will overturn this excuse for legal reasoning, but I will look for it. I wish Bob McMahon was still with us. He would have had the words that I lack. And the others that died along the way … Ben and Steve come to mind. I know there are others. Then there are the people of the Tamar Valley, who (not to put too fine a point on the matter) were lied to and cheated. Bob McMahon consistently and lucidly put the argument that the mill could never actually operate … that the business case simply did not stack up.

    Justice Porter has entered history with his pretence at sentencing. I know that many in the community understand that not only did John Gay do us wrong, but that so too has Justice Porter failed the Tasmanian community. Justice Porter has failed to deliver justice.

  49. The Voice of Sanity

    August 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    What a lot of heartless pricks you TT zealots are.
    Don’t expect any sympathy when you let get diagnosed.
    As for leaving people destitute thru losing their super – have a look in the mirror!

    Have a lovely day. TVoS

  50. glennis

    August 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Tas Inc in fine form! I wonder, if one had a terminal illness, whether one would buy a couple of sawmills, as I believe Mr G has done? He is lasting mightily well for someone with a dire prediction, 5 years and still going strong!

  51. Pete Godfrey

    August 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    How can David Porter describe Mr Gay as exemplary.
    Here is a man who according to Bob Cheek tried to bribe him with a $10,000 political donation.
    Here is a man who tried to sue people who were voicing concerns about how his company was destroying Tasmanian forests.
    Here is a man who was deeply entangled in the Edmund Rouse affair and sat on a board of directors with some of the perpetrators of this sordid affair.
    Here is a man who convinced the State government to block the sale of Entally House to a mainlander so that he could have the lease.
    Here is the man who ordered the then Premier to come to his office to discuss the slow approval of his pet pulp mill. Who had his own lawyers write legislation to make the pulp mill unchallengable in court.
    This is exemplary?
    I suppose if exemplary means stands out it is.

  52. phill Parsons

    August 23, 2013 at 11:35 am

    #25 Porter would have been selected for appointment before it was Gazetted.

    It is however a judgment that is another Blow to the credibility of Tas. Inc. as one of the leaders of the debacle that undid the forestry industry and emptied the economy of investment capital lives on $700k extra of ill gotten whilst many others suffer assorted indignities of poverty.

    No attention will be paid to our rants as we are as nobody except on polling day.

    The silence of Nikolic on this will be deafening.

  53. Don Ford

    August 23, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Sold 3,555,555 shares at 90 cents each netting $3.2 million. When shares plummeted to 68.5, value of the shares dropped to $2,435,555. Effectively $764,445 he could have lost if he had sold later. Unlike other shareholders who had no inside knowledge. ASIC believe they have been effective with a fine of $50 000. When the fine is taken from $764,445, he is still $714,445 ahead. Is the ASIC “message” to company directors that insider trading still pays profits even after fines.

  54. William Boeder

    August 23, 2013 at 3:22 am

    In reply to your #11 John, no ASIC cannot find the time to deal with this matter as most of their team are running flat knacker to ‘aid and assist’ the Commonwealth Bank’s ‘integrity impeccable senior ranks’ to steam-clean and sanitize their volumes of customer-files that were soiled in a former time by a number of this Bank’s then appointed financial planning and advisory personnel.
    I am to believe that this matter is still ongoing and I believe this Bank is still paying out the necessary million that will become the sum total paid in compensations, (these facts sourced from the Melbourne Age business columns comment and analysis articles, Adele Ferguson and others, as per related dates, including 6th August 2013.)

    I would like to offer a comment that needs to be read and understood – as being beyond any reasonable doubt, ‘that this foul and offensive action as has become reflective upon the people of Tasmania,’ being the abject leniency offered up in the sentencing of this defendant, John Gay …
    It all but matches the abject leniency apparent as to the ‘no-conviction-recorded’ sentencing regimen applicable in the Bryan Green/John White TCC case.

  55. russell

    August 23, 2013 at 3:15 am

    re 21 Have seen somewhere comparison with Rene Rivkin with 30 thou and 9 months clink? Unsure.
    Is he a Convicted Criminal now? Is it CCJG?
    Future Directorships/business?
    Recompense to prostate sufferer shareholders?
    Recompense to Tamar Valley residents?
    Enablers and legal accountability?
    ASIC media releases? ASIC PR is a great big worry for shareholders and citizens alike, it seems.
    Said to be the largest case in oz (for 50 thou fine!)? The Judge’s comments seem artificially conflated or constructive. Exaggerated? Who knows; mystery. What would Justinian reckon I wonder?

  56. John Hawkins

    August 23, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Porter in his Judgment is very careful not to link Gay and his dual position as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Gunns.

    Why?

    It could be implied that Porter would like us to think that these two positions were held by two separate individuals.

    This is evidenced thus:

    Porter, “At the time of the relevant events the Board of Directors of Gunns held a meeting each month. Customarily, the Chairman, six non executive directors, the company secretary and the CEO attended”

    Mr Porter, Gay was both CEO and Chairman of the Board. Why do you not make this apparent?

    Porter, “….at the AGM on 11 November 2009 in the addresses of the Chairman and the Chief Executive….”

    Gay was both CEO and Chairman of the Board.

    Why does Porter not make this link?

    Porter, “A Board meeting was held on 26 Nov 2009 at which the October 2009 management report was tabled. The offender would have received the report in the week before the Board meeting.”

    This is not so. Porter failed to note that Gay as CEO, with monthly reporting, would have known the contents of the report well before it came before the Board on 26 November 2009; by this date a company will have its November figures nearly ready.

    Porter “The figures for the financial year to October, and which amount to the inside information the subject of this charge were as follows:……

    Porter then lists the Gunns figures from the 26 November 2009 Board meeting. This suggests that these figures were not known to Gay at the AGM on the 11 November 2009, Gay only becoming aware of them in the week before the 26th November 2009.

    The matter of Gay as CEO running the day to day business of the company is not addressed! Gay could only sell in the one day to one month period after the AGM and was advised of this by the company secretary, Chapman.

    Porter, “The offender was a true insider. He held the Senior position on the Board.”

    Porter refuses to make the link that as CEO Gay could and should know the October results by the first week in November and therefore before the AGM.

    In his conflicted position as CEO did Gay not make these figures public at the AGM so as to keep the share price up into the window of opportunity that allowed him to legally sell the shares for a period of one month after the AGM.

    This is the question that nobody was prepared to ask or raise during the case, or in the case of Porter in his written Judgement.

    I ask TT readers should ASIC consider an appeal outside Tasmania.

    Addendum: I was wrong about one point: http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/weblog/article/a-tasmanian-houdini/

  57. john hayward

    August 23, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Having seen him in action, I can assure you David Porter is a Tas Inc treasure.

    John Hayward

  58. max

    August 23, 2013 at 12:23 am

    When you sell shares, someone has to buy them. John Gay was talking up his pulp mill, encouraging poor suckers to buy his worthless shares and if he was any sort of chairman, he was or should have been aware of the value of his company. When the public became aware of the dire straight that Gunns was in the poor suckers lost every thing. In my opinion what this man did was worse than robing a bank, at least a bank can recoup their losses but the buyers of John Gays soon to be worthless shares possibly lost there future. The judge in summery said I am satisfied that the offender is of exemplary character, a man respected and admired by many, with a reputation of honesty and integrity. In making this judgement I can only conclude the judge never bought any of those soon to be worthless shares.

  59. pilko

    August 22, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Now is the time for the community to organise, rise up & push for a wide ranging investigation into the relationship between Gunns, the pulp mill & successive Tasmanian Governments.

    In 12 months, the heat will have well & truly gone off John Gay insider trading & under wall to wall federal & state Liberal Governments Tasmania will likely be fighting Tamar Valley Pulp Mill Mark 2.

  60. Janet Keeling

    August 22, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    This outcome is outrageous and unfortunately so predictable!!! This must not be allowed to go uncontested – how can we have confidence in our legal system? This is an embarrassment for Tasmania… SHAME SHAME SHAME!!!!!!!

  61. Mick Kenny

    August 22, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Will there be restitution paid to the many victims?

  62. Judith

    August 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Compare Gay’s sentence for trading 3.1 million shares for an $880,000 profit, $50,000 fine and no jail time to that of Rene Rivkin [http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/asic.nsf/byheadline/03-170+Rene+Rivkin+sentenced+to+jail?openDocument ]. Rivkin had a conviction for insider profit $30,000, $30,000 fine [equivalent to the insider profit made] and a 9 month jail term. Something is very amiss.

    There must be an outcry about this pathetic sentence. At least encourage ASIC to appeal.

  63. Judith

    August 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/ASIC.NSF/byHeadline/Contacting us

    Will as many people as possible write to ASIC to ask them to appeal the light sentence handed down to John Gay?

    ASIC does respond to community contact. ASIC must feel like mugs given they pursued Australia’s most senior Australian executive for insider trading, former Gunns chief John Gay and the result was a paltry fine!

    cont …

  64. T. Thekathyil

    August 22, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    #17 “For those who like spooky coincidences, check this one out.

    Justice David Porter appointed 26/05/2008
    Premier Paul Lennon resigned 26/05/2008”

    This is not really significant since his successor/s would have the same mindset.

    We are discussing a future State Gov here, mark my words

  65. Rod

    August 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Who said crime doesn’t pay. In Tassie it pays very well. After paying the fine he is still $750,000 in front and no jail time. The supreme court should hang its head in shame.

  66. Gary

    August 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    This “punishment” means that for Australia’a white collar criminals, the commission of Insider Trading is not a difficult moral choice but a mere business decision, one that in this case has paid off handsomely for My Gay. Worst-case scenario for Mr Gay now would be having to sell the motor car I’ve seen him driving, valued at four times the fine received.I’m Surprised he didn’t just write a cheque while he stood in the dock. Shame on our legal system, shame!

  67. Simon Warriner

    August 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    One small win for John Gay, one gigantic loss for the respect for rule of law.

    I thought it was a principle of sentencing that the guilty should not profit from their crimes. Obviously I was wrong.

    Our governor might just get to see what happens when a population holds those who apply its laws in complete contempt.

  68. Peter Henning

    August 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Does anyone have any “inside” knowledge of what constitutes “serious” insider trading, and can anyone provide information of penalties applied in similar cases in Australian jurisdictions?

    Also, does anyone know how the collection of fines such as these actually takes place? Can it be paid in instalments over a decade or three, for example?

  69. Buck and Joan Emberg

    August 22, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    We hate to be “I told you so…” but actually, we feel vindicated in a sense because many months ago we said that Gay would get a small fine, no time in prison and a slight rap on the knuckles. We were wrong. It was even less. And what about those around him who aided and abetted? Nothing.

    We are not surprised that the Tasmanian Boys/Girls Network moves DOWN to the courts.

    We are pleased to be in Tasmania and ashamed of many of our ‘leaders’ and our corrupted practices. Who is next to be forgiven for being a criminal?

    We wonder what would happen to us if we stuck up a bank? I am 80 and Joan not much younger. Guess we could keep our money and live in the tropics…oh yes, we both have severe elbow arthritis. That should be worth 50 years or so.

    Horrified. Buck and Joan Emberg, St Helens

  70. Paul de Burgh-Day

    August 22, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Disgusting though it most surely is, the ‘judgment’ is pretty much as I expected. This is Tasmania after all.
    Wonder how all the forest industry folks hung out to dry by Gay feel about it now?

    A man of exemplary character indeed!

  71. Stephen Jeffery

    August 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Call me an optimist, but I predict an outbreak of people prostating themselves before the court.

  72. Thelonius

    August 22, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Imagine what he would’ve copped if he’d been unemployed and defrauded Centrelink for the same amount?

    We’ll just have to settle for calling John Gay, common thief, convicted felon, self-confessed robber or whatever is the appropriate term. A teensy wrist-slap, out with the chequebook and then the chauffeured ride home for some nice wine with dinner. With a quarter of a mill. or whatever it was profit he made from being a crook, he can afford it.

    For those who like spooky coincidences, check this one out.
    Justice David Porter appointed 26/05/2008
    Premier Paul Lennon resigned 26/05/2008

    Wikipedia
    The Supreme Court of Tasmania is composed of up to seven judges appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Executive Council, a body of senior ministers including the state Premier.

    Must’ve been pretty close to being the Captain’s last pick? It’s a real shame he didn’t do the right thing and take one for the Tas Inc team today. Yep, shame is the word.

  73. john hawkins

    August 22, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    When the offence took place Gay was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gunns, once a top 100 Australian public company.

    In recent times only Gay and Murdoch in the corporate world have held both these exalted corporate positions at the same time.

    This makes them within their respective companies both extremely powerful and very difficult to call to account.

    Porter by not putting Gay behind bars has presumably taken note of Gay’s excuse that despite his nearly unique position at Gunns, Gay did not know or understand that selling your own shares whilst privy to inside information was and is against the law.

    This mitigating statement made to the Court by Gay beggars all belief.

    It is totally unacceptable.

    The fine and its size suggests that the justice system in this state serves well those who are both rich and well connected for it enables them to use the system to their advantage.

    A $50,000 fine for a personal saving of some $800,000 on a self admitted insider trading charge is a very good result indeed.

  74. Heather Donaldson

    August 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    This is not even a slap on the wrist – it is a pat on the back. Justice Tasmanian style for the wealthy. Pathetic !

  75. Sue DeNim

    August 22, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    This is absolutely preposterous but totally expected.
    So what will become of this ruling? Diddly.
    Will there be a public outcry. Probably not.

    In contrast, Private Manning gets 35years for telling the truth. Its a topsy turvy world because the slack-jawed yokels are too busy watching the cricket or X Factor.

    Who needs to be a super hero with a special suit. Get yourself a business suit and a few maaaaates,
    and hey presto you are virtually untouchable.
    Pathetic!

  76. moo

    August 22, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    And the winners are Gunns, Gay, Gray, Rouse, Lennon, Chipman, Gordon and all the other members of Gunns Board and the Tasmanian woodchip crew who got rich on the backs of ordinary Tasmanians livelihoods and health. They’ll be cracking out the champers tonight, that bottle especially reserved for any fool who thought they could touch TasInc

  77. john hayward

    August 22, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Where else would a Supreme Court Judge describe a convicted felon of being a “person of exemplary character”, before sentencing him to a fine of about 7% of what he got away with?

    Will ASIC appeal the sentence, or is the whole system complicit?

    John Hayward

  78. Rod Crass

    August 22, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    What a joke it shows how the old boy net is entrenched in our system,if the person in question had terminal prostate cancer he would have died a long time ago,most older males have this problem and live to a ripe old age and so will JG,I just hope his chickens turn into Emu’s and kick his chicken coop to pieces.

    I’m trying to be restrained in my comments and not swear but I assure you I’m as mad as hell,what goes around comes around

  79. Luca Vanzino

    August 22, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Justice Porter wrote:

    “the offending wasn’t in the serious category of insider trading.”

    WTF.

    ALL insider trading is serious.

  80. John Biggs

    August 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    “A man of exemplary character”, as Porter J. describes Gay. But what he did was wrong, and the $50,000 fine still leaves him about $3 million better off.

    And Sue Neil-Fraser goes to gaol for 23 years after a trial that has been condemned by a Victorian silk as being faulty in law. And the AG, Brian Wightman and no lawyer, refuses a Committee of Inquiry.

    Tasmanian justice.

  81. Jane Rankin-Reid

    August 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Is anyone sick of politicians and business leaders using their cancer diagnoses, or sudden needs to “spend time with family” to excuse their atrocious and often illegal actions?

    I too am motivated to reduce my debt, but I doubt if that excuse would fly in court, in the event that I was caught insider trading, which is most unlikely as I have no shares to speak of and no seat on a publicly listed company’s board of directors. Of course, Justice Porter’s verdict has little to do with the ugly legacy of John Gay’s relentlessly hostile public interactions with anti-mill protesters and over all (incompetent/ cavalier/ delusional/deceptive) disregard for Gunn’s internal finances not to mention the failing global wood chip market.

    No, the Porter verdict is worse to me as it gives permission for any number of late middle aged male corporate executives to use their health diagnoses as an excuse for killing off a company without affecting their own personal finances.

  82. Karl Stevens

    August 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Have to agree with Justice Porter that Mr Gay is of ‘exemplary character’. It’s so ‘exemplary’ that you can only hope it is emulated on a regular basis.

  83. Pete Godfrey

    August 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Bollocks, what is shows is that if you are rich and one of the crew, you get off light and if you are poor you go to gaol.
    It is as I expected a very light tap on the wrist.
    What is the bet the terminal cancer goes away and he lives to a ripe old age, just like Tricky Dicky did.
    I bet Steve Vizard feels like a victim of the system now, if he had managed to have his trial in Tasmania he too would not have gone to gaol.

  84. Big Red

    August 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Justice David Porter, eh? His justice was similarly merciful when he gave Terry Martin, MLC, a wholly-suspended sentence for sex with a 12-year old.

    ‘Justice David Porter today sentenced Martin to 10 months in jail, wholly suspended.

    In a lengthy explanation, Justice Porter said Martin’s offending was directly related to medication for Parkinson’s Disease which caused hypersexual desire.

    He said that desire caused Martin to seek out 162 sex workers, one of which was the 12-year-old.’

    http://www.nswpolicecrime.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=517

  85. Garry Stannus

    August 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Oh the sunshines bright on Justice Porter
    He washed his hands in John Gay’s water.

  86. PB

    August 22, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    John Gay made an $800,000 profit from insider trading yet is fined a paltry $50,000.

    This sends an appalling message that corporate crime pays off in Tasmania and demands to be appealed.

    By contrast, Whitehaven hoaxer Jonathan Moylan faces a 10 year and/or a $765,000 fine for standing up against an illegitimate, monstrous and destructive open cut coal mine which will devastate the local community.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/markets/asic-defends-action-against-whitehaven-hoaxer-jonathan-moylan/story-e6frg916-1226684611836

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-19/whitehaven-to-push-ahead-with-maules-creek-mine-despite-legal-c/4830390

  87. TV Resident

    August 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    This is such an unjust punishment, due to the fact that he has left a lot of people basically destitute through losing their super…It just goes to show how weak our judicial system actually is. Do the judges receive any kind of benefit or pats on the back for allowing corporate criminals off so lightly?? This weak punishment just tells other crooked business people that they can more or less do whatever they want to expand their wealth and no one can or will do anything about it.

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