Capital + Merchant directors' appeal fails

Three jailed directors of failed finance compay Capital + Merchant have failed in their appeal against their sentences and convictions.

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

The High Court's Justice Ed Wylie said the pair loaned investor money for their own benefit in ways that breached Capital + Merchant's trust deed.

Nicholls and Douglas, both in their 50s, were in August each jailed for seven and a half years - the longest sentences given to failed finance companies bosses to date.

Former C+M director and chief executive Owen Tallentire, who is in his mid-60s, was also found guilty of two charges and sentenced to five years in jail.

During the trio's trial, counsel for the defendants argued the proceedings were very different to other cases where such charges were involved.

Douglas and Nicholls' Queen Counsel Bruce Gray said previous cases with these charges had involved the concealment of transactions and that was not a feature of this trial.

Tallentire's lawyer, Nathan Gedye, went as far as to say that the Crown had "overcharged" by bringing the case in the way it did.

Justice Wylie rejected this, but did note circumstances of the trial were "unique" and that it involved "unusual and untested features".

Following sentencing the defence brought the case to the Court of Appeal, where it was argued last month before Justices Terence Arnold, Lynton Stevens and Rhys Harrison.

In a decision just released, the Justices have rejected the appeal.

- By Hamish Fletcher of the New Zealand Herald

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