THE Crown has told a Supreme Court Judge today it is not pushing for a full-time jail sentence for former Gunns chairman John Gay.
John Eugene Gay, 70, of Clarence St, Launceston, pleaded guilty on August 5 to one count of insider trading.
Gay sold more than 3.4 million Gunns shares between December 2 and December 10, 2009, while in possession of inside knowledge from the company’s October management report.
Justice David Porter heard sentencing submissions from prosecution and defence this morning.
Commonwealth prosecutor David Staehli, SC, said the unusual circumstances of the case meant the Crown accepted that a sentence not involving full-time custody may be justified.
Defence counsel Neil Clelland, SC, also submitted that punishment did not require a sentence of imprisonment.
He outlined Gay’s history of prostate cancer and his “uncertain” prognosis to Justice Porter.
He said that after his cancer diagnosis Gay had resolved to sell shares to address his $14 million debt to the ANZ Bank.
The decision to sell was made before he saw the October management report which detailed the company’s plummeting fortunes.
Mr Clelland said the defence was aware that Gunns divided public opinion.
He said the Gay family’s pet dog had been poisoned and the family was threatened and vilified, especially during the pulp mill debate.
The court heard last week that Gay sold shares at 90 cents each, yielding $3.09 million, before they fell by 19 cents a share after the half-year result was released in February 2010.
The hearing continues this afternoon.
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