Director given second chance

A COMPANY director who was jailed for funnelling $5 million from his former employer has been granted another chance at an early release after a judge found the Queensland Parole Board denied him natural justice.

Neil Ian Leggett was sentenced to nine years in jail in 2010 with a non-parole period of three years after pleading guilty to defrauding more than $5.5 million from Agenix, a Brisbane bio-technology company he was managing.

Leggett, 57, has been kept at the Borallon Correctional Centre, on the outskirts of Ipswich, where his health has severely deteriorated.

While these conditions were taken into account when Judge Douglas McGill sentenced Leggett in 2010, Leggett applied for early release last year on the basis of "exceptional circumstances" because his health had significantly worsened.

In a written judgment delivered on Thursday, Judge Jean Dalton stated Leggett had developed pancreatic and gastric cancer in 2010, prompting Leggett to have his pancreas removed.

Judge Dalton said Leggett was given a 50% chance of surviving five years. Leggett's legal team made submissions for an early release in July and October, 2011, but they were denied.

Leggett appealed the decision in the Supreme Court, where Judge Dalton found Leggett was denied "natural justice" and the parole board "wholly missed the point" of Leggett's massive health deterioration.

Judge Dalton ordered the parole board's decision be set aside and that Leggett's application be referred to the parole board again at their expense.

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