The last of three directors of national whitegoods outfit Kleenmaid has been found guilty of fraud and insolvent trading, 11 years after the business’ $100 million collapse.
Andrew Eric Young, 66, was found guilty on 19 charges in a long trial that saw the defendant represent himself and rail against the justice system.
“I’ve had enough of this court,” he said during deliberations earlier this week.
Young, wearing a suit, hugged his sobbing wife and supporters cried on Friday in the crowded Brisbane District Court as he was escorted to the cells below. Some supporters abused prosecutors outside court.
Sunshine Coast-based Kleenmaid employed about 200 staff and had 22 stores, offering kitchen appliances and importing and distributing whitegoods.
But its failure in April 2009 sparked an uproar with customer deposits of almost $26 million among debts tallied by liquidators Deloitte at $97 million.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission mounted a long-running investigation. One director, Gary Collyer Armstrong, 70, pleaded guilty in October 2015 and was hit with a seven-year sentence in relation to defrauding bank Westpac of $13 million and two criminal insolvent trading charges.
A second director, Andrew’s brother Bradley Wendell Young, 53, was found guilty of 18 offences and received a nine-year prison sentence in 2016.
Justice Brian Devereaux is scheduled to hand down a sentence for Andrew Young in early February.
Young’s trial had taken several months, the court heard. Even Justice Devereaux told jury members they had the community’s “most serious degree of thanks” after sitting “well beyond the period which I am understood you were told that might be required”.
An initial action in 2016 was discontinued in a mistrial. Another trial in 2017 saw the jury discharged due to health ailments striking Young.
Then this trial had other hurdles – Young told Justice Devereaux in November he might need a colonoscopy. This week, as the case was summed up, Young argued he wanted to hand up a document to the jury that was contested by the prosecution.
When Young objected to a refusal to allow it to be handed up, Justice Devereaux said he was “not going to be cross examined”. Young then argued “this court is absolutely unfair”.
“The Crown gets away with saying black is white,” he said.
On Friday, he requested bail to make submissions for sentencing. “It seems the jury has not found any alternative hypothesis which is a bit of a problem,” he said.
Justice Devereaux denied his request.
ASIC commissioner John Price said the regulator’s action had sent a clear message to directors about failing “in their duty to prevent a company from incurring debts while it is insolvent”.
The charges included 15 counts of insolvent trading of debts of more than $750,000 incurred between October 2008 and April 2009. The fraud charges included dishonestly gaining $13 million in Westpac loans.