Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Jailed finance directors tipped to seek appeal

Capital+Merchant Finance director Wayne Douglas and director Neal Nicholls. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Capital+Merchant Finance director Wayne Douglas and director Neal Nicholls. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Two jailed Capital+Merchant finance directors are hoping to take their case to the Supreme Court, the Herald understands.

If the case goes that far, it will be the first time a criminal case involving former finance company directors has reached the country's final court of appeal.

Wayne Douglas and Neal Nicholls, the founding directors and beneficial owners of Capital+Merchant, were found guilty in July last year of three charges of theft by a person in a special relationship.

In a case brought by the Serious Fraud Office, both men were each jailed for seven and a half years, the longest sentences given to failed finance companies bosses to date.

Former director and chief executive Owen Tallentire was also found guilty of two charges in this case and sentenced to five years in jail.

The trio then attempted to overturn their convictions and sentences in the Court of Appeal but this was rejected in December.

Douglas and Nicholls now intend to file for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, the Herald understands.

If leave to appeal is granted the case can then proceed to be heard in the country's highest court.

While Tallentire made a bid at the Court of Appeal, his lawyer said yesterday he was not involved in this latest appeal attempt.

Douglas and Nicholls were originally due back in the High Court this week for a separate trial involving the Financial Markets Authority but this may now be adjourned.

According to a minute from Justice Patricia Courtney on Monday, an application by the defendants to adjourn the fixture is to be determined this Friday. The proceedings are otherwise scheduled to begin next Monday.

Tallentire was also facing charges in the FMA case but pleaded guilty last month.

Two other former C+M directors, Robert Gordon Sutherland and Colin Gregory Ryan, also pleaded guilty to charges in the case last week.

These three men are due to be sentenced on March 15.

Capital+Merchant collapsed in 2007 owing $167 million to about 7500 investors. No funds are expected to be recovered.

- NZ Herald

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