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Bridgecorp's Roest loses appeal against conviction, sentence

Friday 8th November 2013

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Bridgecorp's former finance director Rob Roest has lost his appeal to overturn his sentence and conviction for signing off on untrue statements in the failed lender's offer documents.

The Court of Appeal today dismissed his appeals that Justice Geoff Venning erred in convicting him on 18 counts under the Securities and Crimes Act charges and the six-and-a-half year jail term imposed was too severe. Bridgecorp collapsed in 2007 owing some $459 million to about 14,500 investors.

In striking down Roest's appeal of his convictions, President Justice Mark O'Regan and Justices Ellen France and Tony Randerson were satisfied by the High Court's decision, saying they were "the correct verdicts on the evidence."

The judges were critical of Roest's attempt to shift the blame for Bridgecorp's failure on to investors, saying he and former chief executive Rod Petricevic weren't held criminally liable for the firm's collapse, and that their inability to face up to the looming collapse of the company after it missed payments to investors was "dishonest and reprehensible."

"Their culpability lies in their failure to provide accurate information to investors, and more seriously, their dishonesty in continuing to seek money from the public on false assumptions when they well knew that the company was in serious financial difficulty in the period post-7 February 2007," the judgment said.

"The attempt to shift blame onto the investors is entirely misplaced and demonstrates that Mr Roest continues to regard himself as an innocent party. The Judge was right not to allow any discount for remorse since Mr Roest has not accepted responsibility for his offending," the judges said.

The judgment said none of the other factors warranted a discount beyond what Justice Venning gave, and dismissed the sentence appeal.

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