Jonathan Moylan has been sentenced to one year and eight months in jail by the Supreme Court of NSW today, but will be released immediately on a $1000 good behaviour bond for two years.
Moylan sent out a fake press release in January last year. The hoax temporarily wiped off more than $300 million from Whitehaven Coal’s share value by claiming the ANZ Bank had withdrawn a loan from the open-cut coal mine worth $1.2 billion.
Moylan, who is an environmental activist, was subsequently charged under the Corporations Act for making false or misleading statements. He pleaded guilty and faced a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $765,000 fine.
Supporters of Moylan gathered at the Supreme Court before the sentence was handed down, with the hashtag “standwithjono” trending on Twitter.
Speaking to SmartCompany earlier this year Allens partner Matthew McLennan said it is important businesses react quickly to correct false or misleading statements. His advice comes in three simple but effective steps.
“Number one: issue a corrective statement,” he says. “Number two: report the perpetrator to ASIC. Three: put people who are or might republish the false statement on notice that it is false.”
Exposing the false press release as soon as possible is a good idea, said McLennan, because it draws attention to the person spreading false information.
— Stand With Jono (@StandWithJono) July 25, 2014
“Exposing it as a prank or hoax is effective because the story itself becomes that rather than ending up as a debate about what is and what isn’t true, which could give more airtime to the hoax.”