Whitehaven hoaxer Moylan avoids jail

Whitehaven Coal hoaxer Jonathon Moylan has avoided a prison sentence following his sentencing today.

Whitehaven Coal hoaxer Jonathon Moylan has avoided a prison sentence following his sentencing today.

Moylan pled guilty last year to a hoax press release that temporarily wiped more than $314 million of the value of Whitehaven Coal.

The press release which was produced by activist group Font Line Action on Coal, purporting to be from ANZ and claimed the bank had withdrawn a recent $1.2 billion loan to help develop the Maules Creek project on ethical grounds.

During the trial Moylan voiced his surprise that it was run by a number of media outlets, with Moylen’s barrister telling that court that “any business journalist worth their salt” would checked the veracity of the release on the ASX itself.

In facing sentencing today prosecutors sought an intensive correctional order, according to The Australian, which means Moylan will avoid serving a custodial sentence in jail.

He could potentially instead serve home detention, community service, or other intensive programs.

“Such an order may be justified, we do not press for him to serve any time in custody,” crown prosecutor David Staehli said at the sentencing.

The Crown also conceded that hoax, which purported to be from ANZ, did no financial damage to the bank.

During his the trial the Crown stated that this case, whilst being trialled as one of market manipulation, was different as it was not for individual or corporate profit.

However it was noted that Moylan had six prior offences to protest action, which included activism against a coal loader, at an aluminium smelter, and a timber mill, and he had attempted to research laws on identity theft as well as the crimes act before he carried out the hoax.

During the sentencing a number of people gathered outside in support of Moylan as he faced the court.

The sentencing hearing will continue into the afternoon, with a final decision yet to come.

To see the court results as they happen, follow @_leo_s who is reporting for The Australian from the court.


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