Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Convicted Bridgecorp director goes on holiday

(L- R) Bridgecorp Rod Petricevic, Robert Roest, Gary Urwin and Peter Steigrad, stand in the dock at the Auckland High Court. Photo / Brett Phibbs
(L- R) Bridgecorp Rod Petricevic, Robert Roest, Gary Urwin and Peter Steigrad, stand in the dock at the Auckland High Court. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Convicted Bridgecorp director Peter Steigrad has appealed against his home detention sentence and is on vacation in Europe attending two weddings.

Steigrad was found guilty in April of making untrue statements in the failed finance company's offer documents and in May was ordered to complete nine months of home detention, 200 hours of community work and pay $350,000 in reparations.

Steigrad's lawyer, Brian Keene QC, made a bid to reduce his client's sentence in an Auckland sitting of the Court of Appeal today.

The former director did not appear in person and the court was told Steigrad was attending his daughter's two weddings in the United Kingdom and France.

Steigrad's bail conditions were lifted and he was free to travel when his appeal was filed in July.

The Financial Markets Authority, which brought the case against Steigrad, confirmed this:

"Mr Steigrad's ability to travel, while appealing against his sentence, is a consequence of the operation of the law under the Crimes Act which suspends the sentence when an appeal is sought," a spokesperson said in a statement.

Steigrad, who stood trial with the now-jailed Bridgecorp directors Rod Petricevic and Rob Roest, was acquitted on four of the 10 Securities Act charges he faced and found guilty of the others.

Petricevic, Roest and Steigrad were directors of Bridgecorp when it collapsed in July 2007 owing 14,500 around $490 million.

During the appeal today, it was argued Steigrad's sentence was excessive when compared to that imposed on Bridgecorp chairman Bruce Davidson.

Davidson pleaded guilty to 10 Securities Act charges and was sentenced to nine months of home detention last October and ordered to pay $500,000 reparations and perform 200 hours of community work.

Steigrad also made the appeal on humanitarian grounds, because the director had an ill wife in Australia but was required to serve his home detention in New Zealand.

It was also argued there were errors in the decision of Justice Geoffrey Venning, who heard the three directors' original case.

The Crown opposed the appeal and Justices Paul Heath, John Fogarty and Douglas White reserved their decision.

Steigrad's lawyer was not available for public comment.

- NZ Herald

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