'City Slicker' James Hipwell loses appeal

Financial journalist James Hipwell has failed in a bid to challenge his conviction for stock market manipulation.

Hipwell, who used the City Slickers column in the Daily Mirror to ramp shares in a "tip, buy and sell" scam that netted him nearly £41,000, had his case rejected by three judges in the Court of Appeal in London.

He was jailed for six months in February last year and at a previous hearing appeal judges also threw out his challenge against his sentence.

Hipwell, 40, of Caledonian Road, Holloway, north London, was convicted at Southwark Crown Court in December 2005 of conspiring to breach the Financial Services Act between August 1999 and February 2000.

For months he repeatedly purchased low-priced share issues, recommended them to readers and then quickly sold them as values soared.

His fellow City Slicker columnist, Anil Bhoyrul, who made only £14,000 from the scam and pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 180 hours community service.

Giving the court's ruling, Lord Justice Dyson said: "The single ground of appeal is that the (trial) judge erred in ruling, and later directing the jury, that the defendants' failure to inform readers of any interest held by them in shares that they were tipping created or was capable of creating a misleading impression as to the value of the shares."

He added: "It seems to us that one of the factors that may affect the willingness of purchasers of shares to buy shares is their knowledge and understanding of the tipster who recommends the purchase of the shares.

"If would-be purchasers were made aware of the fact that a tipster has a vested interest in recommending the purchase of a particular share, it seems to us obvious that that fact is capable of influencing the willingness of a purchaser to buy a particular share. It must follow from that that it is capable of affecting the value of the share."

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