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of the company secretary of Eastern, who told Dr Swinden, when asked, that he did not believe the information was unpublished and price sensitive and therefore he could see no reason prohibiting Dr Swinden from buying shares in another company.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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
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

Reach Volunteering: Trustee – PR& Marketing, Social Care, Commercial skills

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Age Concern Slough a...

Reach Volunteering: Charity Treasurer

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Crossroads Care is s...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines