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Ticket scalping brothers' appeal dismissed

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/07/2016

Five years after being caught in a ticket scalping scheme at the Rugby World Cup two men will have to complete their home detention sentences.

Brothers Demissie Tefera Asgedom and Nebiyou Tefera Demissie lost appeals on Monday against convictions for committing and attempting to commit ticket scalping offences, while Demissie also lost an appeal against his sentence.

They were last year sentenced to 12 months' home detention and 200 hours' community work.

The pair's Auckland homes were raided on the first day of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, held in New Zealand.

Investigators found 931 match tickets, valued at more than $500,000, at Demissie's home and a further nine at Asgedom's address.

Customs intercepted another 114 tickets, worth $50,000, bound for Asgedom's home.

The tickets were obtained through a scheme where others overseas used illegally obtained credit cards to buy the tickets through Ticketek.

The brothers' role was to hold the tickets until the buyers arrived in New Zealand to collect them.

Their lawyers sought to have their convictions overturned on the basis some evidence was inadmissible and the original judge's verdict was unreasonable.

Demissie's lawyer also argued the sentencing judge's starting point was to high, and that the sentence should have been six months' home detention at most.

But in judgment on Monday, the Court of Appeal found while the brothers were not the prime movers "they were willing participants in the scheme which could not have proceeded without their participation".

Justice Tony Randerson said there was a strong need for deterrence and that "we consider the sentences imposed were lenient" given there was a real risk of substantial losses had the vigilance of enforcement authorities not stopped the scheme.

The appeals were dismissed and the court ordered the brothers to complete their sentences.

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