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Dr. Mark Sinclair
Dr. Mark Sinclair, Mentor Education

Former Bell Potter adviser jailed for one year

5 November 2013

A former Bell Potter Securities adviser has been jailed for one year by the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal.

Lawson Stuart Donald a former Australian Barbarians and Randwick District rugby captain was found to have used his position as an employee at Bell Potter in a case of dishonest conduct that involved more than $1.7 million.

In April last year Donald, received a suspended 2-½ year sentence, with a two-year good behaviour bond but the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in consultation with ASIC appealed against the sentence, saying it was ”manifestly inadequate”. Donald had pleaded guilty to using his position as an employee of the stockbroking firm to gain an advantage for himself worth about $1.8 million transferring trades from one client account to accounts controlled by him, selling the shares for a profit.

The judges at the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal said of the original sentence that it,  “failed to reflect the gravity of the offence and failed in particular to serve as an effective deterrent to other similarly intelligent, competitive professionals in the financial markets”.

The Court of Appeal has made comment that, “it has also been repeatedly observed that the real bite of general deterrence takes hold only when a custodial sentence is imposed,” and ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said that, “this sentence recognises the seriousness of Mr Donald’s conduct and will serve to deter others from engaging in similar behaviour.”