In Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Wooldridge  FCAFC 172 the Federal Court Full Court made final penalty orders following ASIC’s successful High Court appeal for contravention orders against 4 of the directors of Prime Trust. Background.
Directors Wooldridge, Jacques and Butler were each disqualified from managing corporations for the periods from 23 December 2014 to 10 August 2016 and from 11 October 2019 to 22 February 2022. They were also ordered to pay to the Commonwealth a pecuniary penalty of $20,000.
Director Lewski was disqualified from managing corporations for the periods from 23 December 2014 to 10 August 2016 and from 11 October 2019 to 22 February 2033. He was also ordered to pay to the Commonwealth a pecuniary penalty of $230,000.
The penalties against Lewski, Jacques and Butler were agreed between them and ASIC on the basis of the primary judge’s determination of penalty and were approved by the Full Court.
However Dr Wooldridge did not reach an agreement with ASIC as to the appropriate pecuniary penalty and disqualification order.
Dr Wooldridge’s position was that the Full Court ought to take account of practical realities that have faced Dr Wooldridge pending the resolution of the appeal which have meant that he has not been able to take on company directorships (or obtain work from State or Federal Governments) ever since ASIC sought to appeal the Full Court’s overturning of the primary judge’s determination as to liability. This meant that he has not been involved in the management of corporations for a period of time well in excess of the two years and three month sentence imposed by the primary judge.
Dr Wooldridge submitted the disqualification period ordered by the primary judge should be reduced.
ASIC submitted the pecuniary penalty imposed by the primary judge on Dr Wooldridge should be increased.
The Full Court decided not to change the orders of the primary judge.