Have the convicted Indie bosses been punished for their crime?

A total of 14 years for three men who conspired to defraud millions from one of the countries top insurance companies. Justice?

For a crime that carried a maximum sentence of ten years it will be argued that the three directors, Michael Bright, Dennis Lomas and Philip Condon got off relatively lightly.

The collapse of Independent was described as one of Britain’s worst commercial disasters and was not only bad news for the jailed directors, as it hit hard on everyone connected with the company.

More than 1,000 jobs were lost and thousands of policy holders - personal and commercial - were left without cover. Fellow directors, actuaries, auditors, re-insurers and shareholders were also affected. The Financial Services Authority has since paid out over £350 million in compensation.

Judge Geoffrey Rivlin had many factors to consider when determining the length of the sentence for each defendant. The defence counsels representing the men pleaded with the judge to consider their age, health and broken character before making his decision.

As the judge told the court about the maximum sentence imposed, he said that the crime was “so grave”, it was “altogether beyond the scope that Parliament could have had in mind when fixing such a maximum, probably by a factor of several times”.

The three men were sentenced according to the maximum term for the lesser offence of fraudulent trading, even though they were convicted of conspiracy to defraud.

It was decided that even though the conspiracy charge was the more appropriate for trial purposes, the offences would have been covered fully by a charge of fraudulent trading.

Bright, sentenced to seven years, was banned from holding a company directorship for 12 years. Condon, three years, and Lomas, four years, were each banned for ten years. The judge said they would only have to serve half of their sentences.

With so much lost and so many lives affected, the length of the sentences remain open to debate.