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Political Report: March 30

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| Friday, March 30, 2012 6:02 AM

Political Report: March 30

Spending a day in in the High Court you can almost hear the barcodes blipping, counting the dollars as the Queens Counsel and other cloaks represent their unfortunate clients.

In the dock yesterday waiting to be sentenced were men who once wrote the laws that put them there.

Two former Justice Ministers, Sir Douglas Graham and Bill Jeffries, were joined by the former Buckingham Palace spokesman Laurie Bryant, and the former chief executive of the failed Lombard finance company.

They'd been convicted of making false statements regarding the health of the company before the credit crunch put paid to it, leaving well over four thousand investors 125 million bucks out of pocket, including the men in the dock who owned 60 percent of the company.

There were no winners in this, least of all those facing the monotonous legal music. Graham, Jeffries and Bryant have spent their lives building their reputations and had finally got to the stage that they could use their gravitas.

Sir Douglas was the best known and trusted of them and it was his name that encouraged investors to put their money with Lombard which towards the end was, like all finance houses, facing liquidity problems even though the directors didn't acknowledge it in the prospectus and advertising.

It was sentencing day but it seemed more like a retrial, with the arguments being rehearsed for hours on end before a Judge who'd already clearly written his sentencing notes well before they began. When they'd all run out of huff, the beak took a break of 20 minutes to consider their arguments. Well he had to give the appearance of taking aboard what he'd heard all day, otherwise the defendants would have felt short changed!

In fact at the end of it pensioners Graham and Bryant copped a one hundred thousand buck bill and will have to toil for the community for three hundred hours while Jeffries and the former CEO will be doing a 400 hours compulsory, voluntary labour.

And no they can't use their time to start up another company, they won't be allowed to do that for another five years!

Image: Lombard Finance and Investments directors, from left, Lawrence Bryant, William Jeffries, Michael Reeves and Sir Douglas Graham standing in the dock during their sentencing. (NZ Herald)

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