Brown must face full might of law: State

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iol news pic J Arthur Brown Fidentia sentencing

Sapa

Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown walked out the Western Cape High Court a free man, but said he would not rest until his investors had their money back. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa

 Cape Town - Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown should be given at least the minimum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment for fraud, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

Jannie van Vuuren, for the State, said Brown had a serious and clear fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of his clients, which he did not do.

In closing arguments in Brown's sentencing, he said Brown had not shown remorse for his actions.

“The State submits that no sufficient substantial or compelling circumstances exist... to warrant a deviation from the minimum sentence of 15 years direct imprisonment.”

Brown, 43, was recently convicted of two counts of fraud relating to his admissions about misrepresentations he made regarding investments entrusted to him.

His lawyer Braganza Pretorius said a stiff fine, rather than a term of imprisonment, should apply.

He argued that the section of the law stipulating a minimum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment for fraud was not applicable, since it applied to fraud offences involving amounts of more than R500 000, and the State had not proved actual monetary loss.

“There was no actual prejudice proved or admitted, and the potential prejudice which Brown was convicted on cannot be measured in monetary terms,” Pretorius said.

Van Vuuren argued that the minimum sentence was applicable.

He said the reason Brown had given evidence during sentencing was to mitigate the seriousness of the fraud charges against him and to provide circumstances for deviation from the minimum sentence.

It was the State's view that Brown's actions were premeditated and that “he ingratiated himself with a number of professionals in order to lend credibility to the Fidentia companies”.

“The accused claims to have a commercial law degree, which if true, makes his commission of these crimes even more serious,” Van Vuuren said.

Judge Anton Veldhuizen said he would pass sentence on Wednesday.

Brown is out on bail of R1 million. - Sapa


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