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Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald must go to jail over coal mine conspiracy, court told

A Sydney court has been told former NSW Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald must go to jail for conspiring over a lucrative mine licence. 

After a year-long trial, Eddie Obeid, 77, his middle son Moses, 51, and Macdonald, 72, were found guilty of conspiring over a coal exploration licence.

The licence was granted over the Obeid family farm in the Bylong Valley near Mudgee, when Macdonald was Resources Minister from 2007 to 2009.

The deal led to a $30 million windfall for the Obeid family. 

Justice Elizabeth Fullerton is hearing sentencing submissions for the men who are appearing in court via video. 

The judge noted that the offence of conspiracy was a common law offence, not a legislated one, so has no maximum sentence. 

Crown Prosecutor, Sophie Prosecutor Callan SC, said Eddie Obeid was previously jailed for five years for misconduct over Circular Quay Cafe leases, and that the mine licence conspiracy was even more serious. 

A man in a suit.
Ian Macdonald was Resources Minister at the time of the conspiracy.(AAP: Joel Carrett

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“The objective seriousness is at the high end, because it included a breach of office by a Minister ” Ms Callan said. 

Justice Fullerton asked Ms Callan if a full time custodial sentence was the only option the Crown would consider. 

“Yes,”‘ Ms Callan replied. 

The judge noted that Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald had tendered a string of letters from medical professionals to argue why they should not go to jail. 

They include letters from GP’s, a neurologist, an ophthalmic surgeon, a gastroenterologist, details of an appointment with a psychologist and brain surgeon, and details about how COVID was being mentioned in the state’s jails. 

The court heard Macdonald suffers cluster headaches, incontinence and might need a surgery. 

Justice Fullerton said she has been given character references for Eddie Obeid by members of his family, extended family and a neighbour. 

The hearing continues. 

Read More: Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald must go to jail over coal mine conspiracy, court told

2021-09-07 22:53:49

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