NATIONAL: City slicker journalist fails to overturn six-month jail term.



Financial journalist James Hipwell failed yesterday in an appeal against his six-month jail sentence for stock market manipulation.

The Court of Appeal said that 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 pounds 41,000, was guilty of "extremely serious" dishonest conduct which "affected the integrity of the market".

Hipwell (39), jailed on February 10 after a trial last year, had "no reason to feel aggrieved" that he had gone to prison while his fellow City Slicker columnist, Anil Bhoy-rul, who made only pounds 14,000 from the scam and pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 180 hours community service, said Lord Justice Waller.

The sentencing judge had taken into account Hipwell's ill health - he had had a kidney transplant and will need another - and had imposed a term which was not open to challenge, the judge said.

Hipwell, of Holloway, north London, was convicted at Southwark Crown Court in December 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. Hip-well's counsel, Philip Hackett QC, said he had been the junior member of the City Slickers team and had received no guidance from his seniors.

Mr Hackett argued that the City Slickers had no bearing on the market and there was no real evidence that their tips made market prices rise.

But Lord Justice Waller, sitting with Mr Justice But-terfield and Mr Justice Underhill, said the journalists had used their column to make a profit without disclosing to readers that their tips involved "a serious conflict of interests".

Hipwell is also to pursue an appeal against his conviction.

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