Home / World News / Eddie Obeid refused bail, must present himself to Silverwater jail by Saturday morning

Eddie Obeid refused bail, must present himself to Silverwater jail by Saturday morning

Corrupt ex-Labor minister Eddie Obeid must present himself to jail after losing a bid to remain on bail ahead of an appeal against his conviction over a $30m mine licence conspiracy.

Obeid, 77, will remain on strict bail for one more night until 10am on Saturday morning by which time he is expected to be driven to Silverwater jail begin his seven-year sentence.

On arrival he will be stripsearched, subjected to a health assessment and be placed into 14 days of quarantine, the Supreme Court was told.

The same judge who convicted and sentenced the disgraced former politician to at least three years and 10 months’ jail on Friday refused to consider if he had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Sydney Court
Camera IconEddie Obeid is appealing his conviction. NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone Credit: News Corp Australia

Obeid’s lawyers have already announced he is set to challenge his conviction in the Court of Criminal Appeal and applied for him to remain on bail while that was on foot.

Justice Elizabeth Fullerton granted him overnight bail on Thursday after his barrister, April Francis, argued the elderly man with comorbidities was at risk of dying from Covid-19 if taken into custody.

The judge allowed him the night at home after learning he would spend 24 hours at the Sydney Police Centre instead of being taken straight into quarantine at Silverwater jail as expected.

His son, Moses Obeid, and ex-Labor Party colleague Ian Macdonald were not afforded the same respite and were led from a Darlinghurst court by corrective services staff on Thursday after being jailed over the conspiracy.

When corrective services could not guarantee on Friday what conditions Obeid senior would face in the Surry Hills cells, despite a series of inquiries, Justice Fullerton was not prepared to send him there due to the “potentially severe” consequences of contracting Covid.

Obeid / MacDonald Trial
Camera IconObeid has a 10am deadline. Toby Zerna Credit: News Corp Australia

She relied on the Supreme Court’s “extensive jurisdiction” to allow Obeid to travel to jail alongside his lawyer to be processed into Silverwater’s inmate quarantine facility.

“By no later by 10am tomorrow morning he is to present at the MRRC reception centre at Holker St, Silverwater … to be processed as a sentenced prisoner in accordance with the sentence which I passed upon him yesterday of seven years imprisonment with a non-parole period of three years and 10 months,” she said.

Obeid appeared for his bail application via video link from his home. He sat in a plush armchair wearing the beige Gant jacket he wore to court the day before.

Sydney Court
Camera IconMoses Obeid (centre) has already been taken into custody. NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone Credit: News Corp Australia

But the judge said the draft grounds of appeal tendered on the application for bail raised, among other arguments, that she wrongly concluded he had been part of the conspiracy and gave herself incorrect directions of law.

“I do not propose to engage further in any analysis, dialogue or consideration of that question,” she said.

Moses Obeid and Macdonald also intend to appeal their convictions and sentence, the court was told, but Justice Fullerton flatly refused to hear bail bids for the men, as they would hinge on unreasonable verdicts.

The three men pleaded not guilty to their accused roles in a rigged tender process for an exploration licence on land owned by the Obeid family in NSW’s Bylong Valley.

Obeid / MacDonald Trial
Camera IconFormer NSW Labor minister Ian Macdonald was also jailed over the conspiracy. Toby Zerna Credit: News Corp Australia

Justice Fullerton presided over a year-long judge-alone trial in the Supreme Court and ruled in July that all three men were guilty of roles in the conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt.

She jailed the trio on Thursday for a combined 21 years, with 52-year-old Moses Obeid to serve at least three years and Macdonald, 72, at least five years.

Macdonald, who was the NSW resources minister at the time of the conspiracy between 2007 and 2009, had the least to gain from the plot, but Justice Fullerton felt he might have been repaying political support to Labor’s power broke Eddie Obeid.

Justice Elizabeth Fullerton said she would not entertain arguments that she had erred in her judgment of Obeid’s guilt.
Camera IconJustice Elizabeth Fullerton said she would not entertain arguments that she had erred in her judgment of Obeid’s guilt. Credit: Supplied

She found Moses Obeid played a “hands-on” role in negotiating to sell the family’s stake in a joint venture with the company that secured the licence, and his father Eddie was aware of the plans.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has vowed the government will do “everything we can” to claw back the $30m the Obeids gained from the corrupt deal.

“It’s outrageous but we’ve received interim advice … the Crime Commission has apparently confirmed that there is an opportunity to pursue those funds, if there are any left over that they will … apparently ASIO got in first,” he told 2GB.

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