Alleged corporate fraudster Helen Rosamond asks for more legal resources
A former business executive who allegedly defrauded the NAB of millions of dollars said she would be unfairly disadvantaged at trial because she cannot pay an expert to comb through a huge forensic report.
Helen Rosamond, managing director of event management company Human Group, pleaded not guilty to 73 fraud charges following an investigation triggered when the bank was informed by a corporate whistleblower.
She allegedly gave bribes to Helen Rosamond, who at the time was chief of staff to NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn, as part of a system of inflated bills.
Ms Rosamond has pleaded not guilty to a range of charges, including offering a bribe advantage, and is due to face a four-month trial in July next year.
However, she filed for a stay of proceedings, arguing that she would be unfairly disadvantaged at trial due to a lack of resources.
NSW District Court learned on Monday that Ms Rosamond had filed a stay request because Legal Aid denied her request for payment for a forensic accountant.
The court heard that the prosecution had to rely on a forensic report, which was paid for by the NAB.
The report cost $ 3.8 million, took 10,000 hours to prepare for 25 experts, and featured a 500-page summary, as well as 46,000 pages of data.
Crown attorney Karl Prince, who opposes the stay request, said that of the 73 charges Ms Rosamond faced, only 12 were directly related to the report prepared by consultancy firm McGrathNicol.
“It’s not to the extent that all of this lawsuit depends on this forensic report,” Prince told Judge Robert Sutherland on Monday.
However, defense attorney Anton Hughes told the court that in addition to being turned down for funding a forensic accountant, Ms. Rosamond was also only approved for funding a lawyer, although ‘she claimed she needed two senior lawyers.
He said this represented an “extreme lack of resources” in a complex case.
He further said that the forensic report was at the heart of the whole case and that Ms Rosamond needed to be able to rely on expert evidence.
“The limited availability of legal resources compounds the injustice that results from the lack of an expert who is sufficiently informed to examine the material upon which the forensic report is based,” said Mr. Hughes.
The case was adjourned to return to court on Wednesday.