Obeid's sentencing hearing delayed again

By Margaret Scheikowski

Former NSW minister Eddie Obeid's misconduct sentence hearing has been delayed again due to a report on his "constellation"of medical issues and his life expectancy.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday, Justice Robert Beech-Jones vacated Thursday's hearing, adjourning it to December 1, to enable the crown to have the 72-year-old examined by a consultant gerontologist.

The crown wants the specialist to respond to the opinions of defence neurologist, Dr David Rosen, who referred to Obeid's "constellation of conditions" affecting his longevity.

He assessed his life expectancy as between 76.6 and 77.7 years.

Referring to overseas studies, he went on to say that every 12 months incarceration would reduce life expectancy by two years, 24 months by four years, and 36 months by six years.

While agreeing to the delay, the judge said Obeid would be sentenced before the end of the law term, December 16.

He referred to the "overwhelming public interest" in having the period between conviction and punishment minimised.

In June, a jury found Obeid lobbied a senior public servant about lucrative Circular Quay leases without revealing his family's stake in the outlets.

His August 12 sentence hearing was adjourned to October 6 after he suffered a stroke.

"It was evident from early on that the crown was contending that no sentence other than a full-time custodial sentence should be imposed," the judge said.

But the defence would say that the combination of his age and medical conditions was such that even if jail was considered appropriate, the term should be substantially cut.

"The crown anticipates that substantial reliance will be placed on (Dr Rosen's) conclusions on behalf of Mr Obeid," the judge said.

As well as obtaining the gerontologist's report, the crown wants updated information from authorities about how the issues raised by Dr Rosen are dealt with in jails.

In December, Obeid, along with his son Moses and former NSW mining minister Ian Macdonald, is also due to face another court hearing.

They are charged with conspiracy over the issuing of a coal mining exploration licence on Obeid family land at Mount Penny in the Bylong Valley near Mudgee.

In 2013, the Independent Commission Against Corruption found the licence enabled the Obeid family to make $30 million.