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R v Entwhistle [2021] NSWDC 159

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to engaging in conduct in the exercise of their duties as Commonwealth public official and did so with the intention of dishonestly obtaining a benefit for themselves and another person contrary to s 142.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.  

Guilty Plea: Guilty plea was not early. There was a tried scheduled to take place that did not need to proceed because of plea bargaining. If the NSW statutory scheme applied, discount of no more than 10% would be allowed. Discount would probably only be 5%. Matter was listed for trial during a period when jury trials were lengthy and limited because of COVID 19. Trial would have been lengthy. Discount of 15% allowed.  

Nature and Circumstances: Offender worked for Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR). Offender made 220 unauthorised accesses to restricted data in the DAWR computer systems. Accesses were made to keep track of shipments for Nano and to gain access to records of competitor’s and supplier’s consignments and enable the offender to research prices of material and shipping used for the bringing of consignments used for the benefit of Nano. Offender tracked Nano shipments and shipments of competitors for the purpose of giving financial and business advantage to Nano and its directors. That is the benefit given to others. There was an indirect benefit accruing to the offender because they expected ultimately to receive some income or financial advantage from Nano or its directors although none was actually ever paid. Offending was serious and over a prolonged period of 18 months. Offender appears to have realised months prior to becoming aware that they were under suspicion that they were offending and wanted to give it up but was driven perhaps for financial reasons to stay the course to obtain a financial benefit so that wife could reduce her working hours.  

Mental Condition: Psychological report is of no assistance. Offender has been in recent times suffering from anxiety and depression. Anyone standing for sentence in this Court who is not anxious and depressed would be abnormal. The offender’s work stress was consequence of perception of being unfairly treated by boss that led to offender being moved within the Department. There was no suggestion that a depressive illness or any psychiatric problem led the offender to doing what they did, rather what the offender was doing may have caused them stress.  

Victim of Offence: There is no actual victim. There is the putative damage to the competitors of Nano and damage that offender has brought to the integrity of our system of government. There is no method to allow the offender to recompense the Commonwealth for their misdoing.  

Offender sentenced to imprisonment for 1 year and 11 months to be served by way of ICO. Offender must complete 500 hours of community service
The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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