Brisbane business man Harold Shand sentenced to 15 months jail for making corrupt payment to Gordon Nuttal
BRISBANE businessman Harold Shand has been jailed for 15 months for arranging a secret commission to disgraced politician Gordon Nuttall.
However, Judge Milton Griffin, SC, said because of the mitigating circumstances, Shand's sentence would be suspended after four months - saying Shand was convicted of poor judgment rather than greed.
Shand is only the second businessman in Australian history to be jailed for making a corrupt payment to a government cabinet minister.
Millionaire George Herscu was jailed for five years for paying former National Party minister Russ Hinze a $100,000 bribe, but he faced a more serious charge than Shand.
A District Court jury yesterday found Shand had arranged a corrupt payment to former Industrial Relations Minister Nuttall on April 12, 2002.
Mr Shand, who turns 60 on Monday, had pleaded not guilty to giving a secret commission to the now-jailed former minister.
The jury heard Mr Shand, a former executive of the mining company which ran central Queensland's Jellinbah mine and its supply company, had no legitimate reason for arranging $60,000 be paid into Nuttall's account.
The payment was made by bank cheque after Nuttall approached Mr Shand's effective boss Jim Gorman, a major player in Jellinbah, for money.
Judge Griffin adjourned Shand's trial until today so he could receive further submissions on what basis to sentence.
He said it gave him no pleasure to sentence someone who had given so much to the community and the business world.
Judge Griffin said he would sentence Shand on the basis he had been a participant in the betrayal by Nuttall of Nuttall's duty to the Queensland public.
"I view the offending as more serious than mere business morality," he said, but added there were many balancing factors.
Judge Griffin found Shand did not seek a benefit and no benefit was actually given because of his actions.
He said it was a single payment of a substantial sum consistent with the verdict at the instruction of Mr Gorman.
"I find Nuttall was not corrupted by Shand but rather Nuttall was deeply corrupted beforehand," he said.
Judge Griffin found the payment was made primarily after brazen and bold importuning of Mr Gorman by Nuttall with the requests being in the light of possible antipathy from Nuttall.
He said it was to protect against no disfavour being shown to Mr Gorman's business interests.
Judge Griffin said the Shand had been a person of very good character who had given considerable public service to the community.
He noted Shand had been suffering depression, had endured a delay in his case being finalised, and had suffered humiliation, in particular in the business community.
"I find it was a case of poor judgment and was not motivated by greed," Judge Griffin said.
He said after balancing all the factors he would reduce the sentence to 15 months and to suspend it after four months.