Court hears jail claim for ex-MPs
A court has been urged to impose jail time on two former NSW Labor MPs.
A Sydney court has heard former ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald must go to jail for conspiring over a lucrative mine licence.
Eddie Obeid, 77, his son Moses, 51, and Mr Macdonald, 72, have been found guilty of conspiring over a coal exploration licence.
The licence was for the Obeid family farm in the Bylong Valley near Mudgee. It was approved when Mr Macdonald was Resources Minister from 2007 to 2009, and led to a $30 million windfall for the Obeid family.
Justice Elizabeth Fullerton is hearing sentencing submissions, and has noted that the offence of conspiracy is a common law offence, not a legislated one, and carries no maximum sentence.
Crown Prosecutor, Sophie Prosecutor Callan SC, said the mine licence conspiracy was even more serious that the misconduct that Eddie Obeid was previously jailed for five years for.
“The objective seriousness is at the high end, because it included a breach of office by a Minister,” Ms Callan said.
Ms Callan was asked if a full time custodial sentence was the only option that the Crown is considering, to which she replied; “Yes”.
The judge noted a string of letters from medical professionals that Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald had tendered, which argue they should not go to jail.
The pair lodged letters from GP's, a neurologist, an ophthalmic surgeon, a gastroenterologist, as well as details of an appointment with a psychologist and brain surgeon, and mentioned COVID-19 in the state's jails.
Mr Macdonald reportedly suffers from incontinence and might need surgery.
Justice Fullerton has also received character references for Eddie Obeid by members of his family, extended family and a neighbour.
The hearing continues.