Jury set to consider 'insider dealing' allegation

PUBLISHED: 17:17 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:56 04 May 2010

THE JURY in the case of two men accused of insider dealing are expected to retire this week to consider their verdict. Lawyer Christopher McQuoid, 40, of Aldouse Court, Fowlmere, and his father-in-law James Melbourne, 75, both deny one charge of insider d

THE JURY in the case of two men accused of insider dealing are expected to retire this week to consider their verdict.

Lawyer Christopher McQuoid, 40, of Aldouse Court, Fowlmere, and his father-in-law James Melbourne, 75, both deny one charge of insider dealing relating to the takeover of Melbourn-based firm TTP communications in May 2006.

At the hearing at Southwark Crown Court, defence barrister Annette Henry conceded that the apparent rush by Mr Melbourne to buy TTP shares just days before the firm was taken over "looks quite bad".

In her closing speech to jurors, she said a flurry of phone calls and bank visits to secure the deal looked incriminating, but should be examined in context.

It is alleged that Mr McQuoid, who was working as in-house counsel for TTP at the time, tipped off his father-in-law that the price of shares would rocket after the takeover by Motorola was announced.

However, Ms Henry said Mr Melbourne, of Broadway, Ripley, Derbyshire, was only in a hurry to buy the shares because he realised the price was right after "dithering" for some months about whether to invest.

She said: "'He was looking at the price, watching, waiting, dithering a bit, and perhaps tracking it, not in an obsessional way.

"Unless you know the context in which this all happened, the rush to buy shares on the face of it can look quite bad.

"Once you know the context, you may think it takes on a whole different meaning."

Mr Melbourne bought 153,824 TTP shares for £20,000, profiting to the tune of nearly £49,000 when their value rose from 14.5 pence to more than 45 pence after the takeover.

The court was told he split the profits with Mr McQuoid, who said it was a gift as he needed to pay off a car loan.

The case continues.

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