Moylan, who co-founded the Front Line Action on Coal group to protest against mining in the Leard State Forest in northwest NSW, has racked up series of convictions for minor offences such as trespassing in support of his cause.
But the creation and dissemination in January last year of a media release purportedly from the ANZ bank announcing its withdrawal of a $1.26 billion loan facility to Whitehaven Coal for its Maules Creek coal project was "much more than some sort of public mischief", Justice Davies said.
"Here, the market was manipulated, vast amounts of shares were unnecessarily traded and some investors lost money or their investment in Whitehaven entirely. These were not just 'day traders and speculators'... superannuation funds and ordinary investors suffered damage."
Moylan sent the email to 306 people including 295 journalists at 98 media organisations, some of which published or distributed stories, including the Australian Financial Review and Australian Associated Press. He included his phone number under the name of a genuine ANZ bank employee, Toby Kent, and told a number of journalists who rang the number that he was indeed Toby Kent and the press release was genuine.
A flurry of share trading followed and the stock plunged as much as 8.8 per cent before it was revealed to be a hoax. Whitehaven soon recovered its share price.
In imposing a prison sentence, Justice Davies said Moylan demonstrated a high degree of planning and premeditation
He also rejected the claim by Moylan's lawyers that journalists were more to blame than Moylan for the effect on the market because they didn't take more care to check the veracity of the release, calling it "hypocritical".
But he accepted Moylan had no concept of the ramifications of his deception upon the stockmarket, Whitehaven or its investors, particularly retirees. And after the initial deception he made no attempt to conceal the crime and always intended to admit it was a hoax. Further, he is contrite and remorseful.
"You did it for motives that I accept were sincerely held by you even though your methods of achieving them were wrong," Justice Davies said.
Moylan faced a maximum penalty of 10 years' jail or a fine of up to $765,000, or both. Justice Davies told Moylan he must stay out of trouble for two years or he could be imprisoned.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/jonathan-m...haven-coal-201