A Figtree husband and wife facing at least 12 months behind bars for "white collar crimes" had an anxious wait last night after the judge handling an appeal against their sentence opted to sleep on his decision.
Roger and Gordana Ocvirk, both 39 and parents to two primary school-aged children, have admitted to misappropriating $1.2 million from strata company Strata Decisions Wollongong and almost $200,000 from real estate agency Dougmal Harcourts Warilla between August 2010 and January 2012.
The pair faced the District Court in Sydney yesterday seeking a lesser alternative to the prison terms they were handed in May, which include 12 months in jail and six months on parole.
Making the case for home detention or another non-custodial sentence, barrister Phillip Boulten told the court the Ocvirks had already been punished in the more than 20 months since admitting the misappropriation to the Department of Fair Trading.
They had spent the time "waiting for people to come knock on their door".
"It's a form of punishment that other people not facing - let's call it - white collar crime, don't have to deal with," Mr Boulten told Judge Michael King.
Mr Boulten also argued Mrs Ocvirk was entitled to leniency because of the degree to which she had co-operated with the Department of Fair Trading.
Mrs Ocvirk had previously pleaded guilty in Wollongong Local Court to two charges of failing to account for the money and one of failing to properly supervise Strata Decisions.
Mr Ocvirk did the same, after his application to have the matters dealt with under mental health legislation was rejected.
Mr Boulten told the court Mr Ocvirk's matter should have been dealt with under mental health provisions.
A psychiatrist's assessment tendered to the court showed he suffered a mental illness, including depressive symptoms, at the time of the offences.
"The magistrate did not form a ... view that there was any connection between the offending and mental condition, but that's not what seems to be made out in the evidence," he said.
But lawyer Anne-Marie Mannile, representing the Commissioner for Fair Trading, said Mr Ocvirk's sentence "struck the appropriate balance".
"The diagnosis of depression simply doesn't marry up with the seriousness of the offending conduct," she said.
"An offence of this nature over a significant period of time involving such a grand sum of money had to involve lengthy ... premeditation."
Judge King will consider psychiatrists' assessments and letters from the Ocvirks before the appeal continues today.