Former NSW Politician Eddie Obeid has been sentenced to a minimum three years in prison for misconduct over business dealings, bringing to a close a long running and complex chapter of political corruption in the state.
In June a Supreme Court jury found Obeid guilty of misconduct in public office after he lobbied a former NSW Maritime bureaucrat give favourable conditions to Circular Quay leaseholders without revealing he had an interest in the businesses.
Obeid, 73, was sentenced to a minimum three years jail, non-parole, and a maximum of five on Thursday by Supreme Court Justice Robert Beech Jones. He will be eligible for release on 15 December 2019.
We've now been going for 80 mins. Eddie #Obeid's face has barely changed expression throughout, still staring straight ahead.— Lucy Carter (@lucethoughts) December 15, 2016
"Corrupt conduct is notoriously difficult to detect, much less to prosecute," says judge in dismissing #Obeid claim too much time had passed— Kate McClymont (@Kate_McClymont) December 15, 2016
"If Obeid had not willfully abused his position as a Parliamentarian, then his life and career would be a testament to the values of hard work, family and public service," Justice Beech Jones said during his two-hour judgment on Thursday.
"Instead, his time in public life has produced a very different legacy."
"Given the nature of the offending and notwithstanding Mr Obeid's personal circumstances, I am satisfied that, having considered all possible alternatives, no penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate."
One of the business deals exposed by an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation related to his family's secret interest in two cafe leases on the bustling wharves at Circular Quay.
The the former NSW Labor minister and powerbroker famously boasted there was only a "one per cent" chance of there being criminal charges after the ICAC made adverse findings against him.
Obeid's barrister, Guy Reynolds, SC, has reportedly already flagged an appeal.
"The prospects of Mr Obeid succeeding ... on appeal are extremely high," Reynolds said.
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