Andrew Eric Young of Kleenmaid.
Andrew Eric Young of Kleenmaid.

‘Sharp as a tack’: Kleenmaid boss’s unfit claims rejected

COURT documents have revealed how Former Kleenmaid director Andrew Eric Young's 'severe impairment' prolonged his fraud trial after he became disoriented in a courtroom and was taken to hospital.

Earlier this month, a Brisbane District Court jury convicted Young on 19 charges related to failed whitegoods retail chain Kleenmaid.

The major charges against the former Coast businessman were that he defrauded Westpac of $13 million by dishonestly gaining a loan and that he traded while insolvent.

Recently released documents revealed how his mental health prolonged court proceedings despite a psychologist deeming him "sharp as a tack".

Young was representing himself four weeks into a second trial of the charges against him when he showed signs he was unwell.

"He was observed to be sitting in court when everybody else had left during an adjournment," the documents stated.

"He was acting confused and disoriented.

"He was taken to hospital and was diagnosed as suffering from a 'transient amnesiac event'."

Young engaged solicitors who referred his case to the Mental Health Court to decide whether he was fit for trial.

Justice Jean Dalton deemed him fit for trial following a hearing.

Young appealed that decision.

Young said the Mental Health Court erred in taking into account certain assumptions about the way in which his trial would be conducted.

The grounds of his appeal concerned three medical opinions Ms Dalton had before her.

Two doctors and a professor examined whether Young's memory loss could impact the trial as he may not be able to recall or comment on information and subsequently would struggle to instruct his solicitors.

Neuropsychologist Dr Jane Lonie found Young's intellectual functioning was relatively high but he had a "severe impairment in his ability to recall or retrieve newly rehearsed verbal information following a brief (ie 20 minute) delay".

Ms Dalton found that Dr Lonie's testing showed the appellant had no memory loss

during his offending nor before his episode of transient amnesia.

She also found he was able to comprehend and retain new information concerning his brother's case regarding Kleenmaid, which concerned him also.

Ms Dalton said much of the "new information" that would be presented at the trial

would be information that is already well known to the appellant.

She considered examinations by psychiatrist Professor Gerard Byrne, which deemed Young met criteria of being fit for trial if he was assisted by transcripts and experienced legal counsel.

"In fact, Professor Byrne described Mr Young as "sharp as a tack"," Ms Dalton said.

"He said he has the ability to follow a trial and he will be assisted by perusing the transcripts.

" … It may be that Mr Young has to be given topics that cross-examination will cover ahead of time."

In his appeal, Young claimed that "such extreme accommodations" being required to compensate for his accepted mental disorder should have resulted in him being found he wasn't fit for trial.

Young's submission was rejected as accommodations were often made in court cases, particularly where children were involved or people with disabilities.

Justice Walter Sofronoff, Justice Anthe Philippides and Justice Margaret McMurdo agreed there was no error in Ms Dalton's decision that Young was fit for trial.

Young will be sentenced on February 7.


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