Obeid loses conviction, sentence appeals

The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal is set to hand down its decision on Eddie Obeid's conviction.

The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal is set to hand down its decision on Eddie Obeid's conviction.

One decade after the then-MP Eddie Obeid unlawfully lobbied a NSW senior public servant, his subsequent criminal conviction and jail sentence have been upheld by five judges.

The 73-year-old was jailed for at least three years in December, after being found guilty of misconduct in public office between August 12 and November 30, 2007.

The former ALP powerbroker was found to have made representations to the public servant to secure lease renewals for two lucrative Circular Quay businesses that he and his family had a financial interest in.

On Wednesday, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed the former Minister's conviction and sentence challenges.

In their 100 page judgment, Chief Justice Tom Bathurst and Justices Mark Leeming, Robert Allan Hulme, Peter Hamill and Natalie Adams said the jury was entitled to conclude Obeid knew what he was doing was wrong in law.

Or that he at least recognised the risk that it was unlawful and proceeded in any event.

At the time, Obeid had been an MP for 16 years and a Minister for four of those years.

"It is inconceivable that a politician of that standing and experience did not know that his duty was to serve the public interest and that he was not elected to use his position to advance his own or his family's pecuniary interests," Chief Justice Bathurst said..

The court rejected the claim that the "duty" that Obeid breached did not exist in law but was rather a matter of "conscience".

Obeid's lawyers further submitted that the proceedings were within the exclusive jurisdiction of parliament and the ex-MP could not be convicted in the Supreme Court.

Subject to certain exceptions, "for a court to decline to exercise jurisdiction would constitute an affront to the administration of justice", the judges found.

In rejecting his sentence appeal, the court said while the term was "heavy" it did not involve any legal error, nor was it plainly unjust or manifestly wrong.

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