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NCJ Number: 134788 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing White-Collar Crime in the Dark? Reflections on the Guinness Four
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:30  Issue:4  Dated:(November 1991)  Pages:257-279
Author(s): M Levi
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 23
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article reflects on the sentences imposed in the Guinness case, the most heavily publicized white-collar crime trial in the United Kingdom since the 1960's.
Abstract: The charges in the case involved theft, false accounting, Section 151 of the Companies Act 1985 (prohibits the purchase of a company's shares with its own money, except in circumstances vaguely specified in s. 153), and conspiracy to contravene the Prevention of Fraud Act 1958 (prohibits the creation of false markets). The prosecution maintained that improper and dishonest payments were made out of Guinness funds -- in some cases as an inducement and in others as a reward -- for buying Guinness shares to help it with the takeover of Distillers in 1986 and that this created a false market in Guinness shares. The four defendants were convicted. In sentencing, one defendant was given 5 years imprisonment, another 12 months and a 5-million-pound Sterling fine, another 2 1/2 years imprisonment, and the fourth a 6-month jail sentence (suspended because of ill health) and a 3-million-pound Sterling fine. An appeals court revised some of the sentences downward. All defendants were required to pay an equal portion of trial expenses. This article concludes that even after reduction by the appeals court, longer sentences would not have been appropriate in this case and that lengthy community service allied with weekend imprisonment should have been considered. Factors that influence this view are the shaming of the defendants under a heavy media assault, a first-time offense that had no precedent to exercise a deterrent effect, and the defendants' crime-free history. 7 notes and 17 references
Main Term(s): White collar crime
Index Term(s): England; Foreign courts; Sentencing factors
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