July 30 2014, updated 7:18pm

Fraudster has sentence reduced

IAN STEWARD
Last updated 17:55 01/07/2014

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An Auckland landscaper-conman who defrauded 13 victims - three of them in their 70s - of nearly $30,000 has had six months knocked off his sentence on appeal.

Guy Campbell Silcock was jailed for three years in May for 14 counts of causing a loss and nine counts of obtaining money by deception.

He appealed his sentence in the High Court at Auckland today arguing that the sentencing judge had started his calculations from too high a point and had been too severe in the up-lift he awarded.

Justice Geoffrey Venning said Silcock offended for over four years by putting ads in local papers under a variety of names advertising his landscaping services.

When people called him, he would quickly show up at their house and say he had workers standing by as a big job had just fallen through.

He quoted a "very competitive price" and asked for half the money up-front as a deposit. Justice Venning said Silcock would sometimes take the victim to an ATM or get them to write him a cash cheque.

The promised work would then not eventuate.

For the other nine charges, Silcock would buy tools at hardware stores with cheques that would bounce and then immediately pawn the goods for cash.

Defence lawyer Maria Mortimer said her client had a gambling problem and his life went out of control after his mother died.

She submitted that Judge Wade had not applied enough of a discount to Silcock's sentence for his remorse.

A cheque for $26,000 was presented as reparation at Silcock's original sentencing and a further cheque for the $3,000 still owing was presented at the appeal.

Prosecutor Anna Longdill said throughout the hearing Silcock ran the defence that the victims got what they paid for.

She said he had "thumbed his nose at the court and thumbed his nose at the justice system" by continuing to offend even after being convicted.

Silcock was quoted as saying in his defence: "I've done nothing wrong. What do you want me to do - go to bed and cry?"

Justice Venning said some allowance should have been made for Silcock's personal circumstances at the time of the offending and for his guilty pleas.

He adjusted the sentence to two years, six months. 

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