(His Honour Judge Barnett)
-THURSDAY, 15TH APRIL, 1993
THE QUEEN V. ANTHONY ADAM ZOCCOLI
HIS HONOUR: Anthony Adam Zoccoli, you have pleaded guilty to the following presentments, Y440, which contains one count of arson; Y441, which contains one count of perjury; X677/568, which contains one count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice; and a further count alleging a conspiracy to defraud. You have also pleaded to presentment No.X8.62/X455/X569 which contains one count of blackmail.
You pleaded not guilty to a further presentment, X455, which contained one count of obtaining property by deception. A verdict of not guilty was entered in respect of that count, after the prosecution elected to lead no evidence.
The factual basis upon which I sentence you can be set out as follows. The count of arson relates to a series of events which led to the destruction of a shop situated at 369 Sydney Road, Brunswick, on 12th April, 1988. The shop housed the business of Joseph Campese, who, it seems, when he hit difficult financial times, turned to you as his accountant and adviser. He suggested the burning of the premises in order to gain an insurance pay-out. You hired the man to light the fire. The financial arrangements between you and Campese, to say the least, were confusing, and on one view it would seem that you were a major contributor in setting up the crime.
Be that as it may, the potential pay-out figure, the financial benefit to Campese, was considerable, as we have just heard, something in the order of $170,000, and one way or other it seems that you had the use of a considerable portion of the moneys yourself. The insurer that covered the owner of the building had to pay out something like $98,000, so I am told.
However, it should be recalled that the charge of arson was only made possible by reason of your confessions to the police. Further, as I understand it, Campese and Ionella, the fire-lighter, will now be charged and you have given an assurance that you will be willing to give evidence in support of the prosecution case against those individuals.
The perjury relates to circumstances and involves an associate of yours, Ali Censori, being charged with being in unlawful possession of some $45,000. At the hearing of the charges against Sinsori at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 7th July, 1988, you provided him with an explanation as to how he could lawfully be in possession of the moneys. The provision of that explanation was by you giving evidence on oath that you owed Sinsori the money and supporting that explanation by the production of the false loan document, back-dated to accord with your evidence. Again, this matter only came to light when you disclosed your involvement to the police. Again, you have indicated a willingness to assist the police in any proceedings against Censori.
The remaining matters are different, in the sense they do not depend upon your confession but arise out. of the police investigation. The blackmail matter arose as the result of Caruso forging a cheqy in an attempt to retrieve some of the moneys he and his family had invested with you. He was driven by some measure of financial desperation to recruit one Condello who approached you for money. Caruso had a business and a family to support and as the end of the year was approaching and with money needed to pay wages and holiday pay, and whilst it can be said that Caruso acted dishonestly with Condello, nevertheless the scheme that you devised with Patterson toypersuade Caruso to repay you by threatening him with prosecution was mean and wicked.
The conspiracy to defraud and obtain moneys by deception, the Brilliant matters, were likewise mean and wicked crimes, involving the planting of what is thought to be a bag of drugs on the target of the scam, then engineering a police intercept, knowing that in all probability your target would be arrested and once the target was arrested you would then offer a fee to organise a way out of being prosecuted for a serious drug offence. In relation to the Brilliant matter you again offered assistance to assist the prosecution by giving evidence against the remaining co-accused.
You are entitled to the benefit of appropriate sentencing discounts in respect of your pleas of guilty for all the matters before me. You are entitled to additional discounts in respect of the matters that you have indicated a preparedness to assist the prosecution by way of giving evidence. I intend to reflect those considerations in the sentences I pass, which have been substantial discounted as a result of those considerations.
I accept that from the time of the committal proceedings, or about that time, at least you intended to plead guilty to the blackmail and the Brilliant matters. I accept that you were motivated to earn a sentencing discount by disclosing other matters which include the arson and perjury. It seems to me that the considerations that relate to the proper granting of those discounts to some extent has become eroded by perhaps the agenda of others. That is, the initial purpose was side-tracked in an attempt to obtain indemnities and promote an inquiry. For what reason is unclear and perhaps of some concern to others, but really no concern of mine.
It can be said that the negotiations and the media campaign that apparently occurred in late 1992 made it difficult to advance the cause of the efficient administration of justice, insofar as bringing your matter to trial is concerned. However, I am inclined in view of the limited material placed before me, and despite the fact that I find that you are an extremely manipulative person, that to some extent you yourself have been manipulated by others, as well as your desire to obtain an indemnity by way of an inquiry.
In any event, as 1 have said, these matters do not seem to me to be of much relevance, so far as my task is concerned, save to say the sentencing discounts may have been greater other than that unusual course that your plea negotiations took during the second half of 1992.
Turning to matters personal to you. You are now aged 42, you were born in Calabria in 1954. You are the fourth eldest in the family. I am told your family is a close family and has strong ties with other migrant families who came to Australia from your region in Calabria. You left school at the age of 17, having completed fourth form. You then studied part-time through the Hemingway Robinson Institute and obtained a qualification in accountancy. 1 am told you married in 1968 and you have got a 22 year old son.
After working for some years as an employee accountant in industry, you set up your own practice as an accountant. I am told from that base you ventured into other businesses including a waste disposal company. It seems that that business did not succeed and you were left tvith substantial debts. A further venture, the Mileto Club, also did not succeed. You commenced borrowing money to stay afloat. The sources that you borrowed from included your associates, your sister, and also included borrowing against your own home. Ultimately you were indebted to the tune of something like $870,000. You became bankrupt on 18th December, 1990.
I am told that you have lost the respect of your family and friends,as well as your respect in the Italian community which you enjoyed a previously close association with. Your married has became strained and at one time at least you separated. The aftermath of being charged with these offences has created in youi I am told, a post traumatic stress disorder, which include symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Because of the Publicity you have received as a police informer, You are in fear of being assaulted or even killed in gaol. You have similar fears for your family. I am told that in the past few years these fears have added to the strain in your family relationship. In all probability you may have to spend a significant period of time in prison as a protection prisoner with all or at least some of the attendant fears and anxieties that are now evident.
The offences that you have pleaded to are serious offences and without exception would ordinarily be met with stringent penalties, demonstrating the community's desire to denounce such behaviour and at the same time attempting to restore confidence in the administration of justice.
You have admitted five prior convictions from three court appearances, those convictions being recorded between lst May, 1976 and 7th July, 1990. Whilst on each occasion you were dealt with by way of fine or a good behaviour bond, nevertheless those convictions to some extent limit the leniency that can now be extended to you. In addition to those sentencing considerations weight must be given to the further considerations of general and
specific deterrence. Balancing up as best I can the various considerations, on Presentment Y440, the arson charge, you will be sentenced to 12 months'imprisorlment. On Y441, the perjury, you will be sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment. On Presentment X677/568, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, you will be sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment. On the conspiracy to defraud you will be sentenced to 9 months' imprisonment. On Presentment X862, the blackmail, you will be sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment. The 4 months of the sentence on Presentment 440, the arson count, is to be served
cumulatively on Count 2 of the presentment, X677, the conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Eight months on Presentment X862, the blackmail, to be served cumulatively on Count 2 of the Presentment X677. That leaves a total effective sentence of 24 months. I fix a minimum of 14 months before you are eligible for parole.
I further declare that in fixing the appropriate sentences I have made the necessary adjustments pursuant to s.10(2) of the Sentencing Act. I also declare, pursuant to s.18(1) of the Sentencing Act, the period from 7th April, 1993, to today's date, 15th April, 1993, to be reckoned as a period of imprisonment already served under the sentence passed this day and to be deducted administratively. I further direct that this declaration be noted on the records of the court.
Are there any further matters, Mr Jones, Mr Collins?
MR JONES: No Your Honour.
MR COLLINS: No, thank you, sir.
MORE SITES RE ADAM ANTHONY ZOCCOLI
Media release - 18 April, 2000 - Writ to ban book fails.
Media release 25 March 2000.
Details of Defamation writ issued December 1999.
Judge Gillard's judgement against Zoccoli re failed book ban attempt.
Zoccoli's side in contempt of court - unlawfully leans on book distributors.
Relevant Text from the book Victoria Police Corruption.
Media sources of information used for Zoccoli material published.
Non-media sources/corroboration of Zoccoli material published.
DPP information about Zoccoli's criminal history.