Insider dealing case `should not be retried'

A judge said that it would be wrong to retry a former director of Eastern Electricity on insider dealing charges following the failure yesterday by the jury in the case to reach a verdict. The jury deliberated for almost eight hours.

The decision on whether to pursue the case and apply for a retrial of Dr Douglas Swinden ultimately rests with Ian Lang, Secretary of State for the Department of Trade and Industry. "We are considering our position," a spokesman for the DTI said yesterday. A decision is expected within the week.

Legal sources said it would be usual for the case of Dr Swinden to be tried again, but the trial judge, Mr Justice Mitchell, indicated he did not think a retrial would be necessary.

"I would like to place on the record my feelings, for what they are worth. But I do feel it would be wrong to proceed with the matter," the judge said at Snaresbrook Crown Court, east London.

Separately, it emerged yesterday that in the wake of this setback the DTI had secured a conviction in another insider trading case, the first this year.

The DTI confirmed that Geoffrey Atkinson and John Hawksby were found guilty on 1 November in a case involving dealings in shares in Queens Moat Houses. The two men are due to be sentenced tomorrow.

In the case of Dr Swinden, the DTI alleged that he bought shares in Seeboard, another regional electricity company, before the release of a price-sensitive and confidential report by Professor Stephen Littlechild, the industry regulator.

Dr Swinden had bought 2,000 Seeboard shares at 350p each between 24 June and 1 August 1994 out of a pounds 15,000 bonus he had received from Eastern, where he was director for strategy.

Seeboard shares rose 100p in a month after the report by Professor Littlechild was published.

Speaking after the trial of Dr Swinden had ended inconclusively, the judge said: "There were very unusual circumstances in the case." They included evidence of the company secretary of Eastern, who told Dr Swinden, when asked, that he did not believe the information was unpublished and price sensitive and therefore he could see no reason prohibiting Dr Swinden from buying shares in another company.

The two charges faced by Dr Swinden were the first brought under the Criminal Justice Act 1993 which gave the DTI greater powers in insider dealing cases.

Clare Montgomery QC, prosecuting, told the jury: "Dr Swinden was in a privileged position compared with anyone who was thinking about buying shares. He knew there was good news around the corner and bought those shares when he should not have."

Professor Littlechild wrote to the directors of the 12 regional electricity companies on 24 June 1994, giving proposals for price controls. He made them public on 11 August.

"The professor was proposing a better deal for the companies. This was a considerable improvement upon changes which had caused the Stock Exchange shock with the effect that millions of pounds was wiped off the value of the shares," Ms Montgomery said.

"The information Dr Swinden had was not in the public domain. The public did not have copies of the letter that he had been given."

Dr Swinden denied using price-sensitive information and said there was no indication whether share prices would rise or not as a result of the regulator's announcement.

David Kirk of Simons, Muirhead and Burton, representing Dr Swinden, declined to comment yesterday.

Comment, page 21

The DTI's 10-year record

Insider dealing convictions

1996 Geoffrey Atkinson and John Hawksby awaiting sentence this week. Convicted on 1 November of dealing in Queens Moat Houses shares.

1995 Brian Ridge fined pounds 1,300 and costs for dealing in London Scottish Bank and Park Ford Gp.

1994 Ian Morrissey and Lorelie Staines each fined pounds 1,500, dealing in Aaronson Bros.

1993 No convictions

1992 David Gray, 6 months suspended for 2 years, fined pounds 5,000 and pounds 500 costs, trading in Pleasurama. Three other people's convictions in the same case overturned on appeal in 1994.

1991 Frederick Stebbing fined pounds 5000 and pounds 500 costs, and Peter Sewell pounds 24,000 and pounds 5,000 costs, for trading in Camotech.

Ivor Goodman 18 months imprisonment, 9 months suspended, disqualified for 10 years as director, for trading in Unigroup shares

1990 John Henry Lukins fined pounds 750 and pounds 432 costs, Peter Bernard Lukins fined pounds 500 and pounds 290 costs, trading in shares of Pittard Garner.

Malcolm Gooding 120 hours community service, pounds 500 costs, trading in Hawtal Whiting

1989 Nicholas Rushbrooke fined pounds 2,000 and pounds 750 costs, trading in Piccadilly Radio

Keith Robinson fined pounds 1000 and pounds 500 costs, trading in Mercantile House Holdings

John Hales fined pounds 15,000, pounds 1,000 costs, trading in Minet Holdings

1988 William Reardon-Smith fined pounds 3,000, pounds 2,000 costs, trading in Reardon- Smith Line

1987 Ronald Jenkins fined pounds 10,000, pounds 2,000 costs, trading in Steel Brothers and British & Commonwealth.

Geoffrey Collier, 12 months sentence suspended for two years, pounds 25,000 fine and pounds 7,000 costs.

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?