Alice Springs loses AFS license while jailed director Harris Shortland awaits appeal

Rick Steves

The financial advisor was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for smuggling 40 grams of cocaine into Alice Springs, of possessing $18,000 from the sale of cocaine in Alice Springs and of supplying a commercial quantity of cocaine in the town.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has suspended the license of Alice Springs financial service provider HJ Shortland & Co Wealth Management Pty Ltd (HJ Shortland & Co) for a period of six months effective 20 June 2022.

The Australian financial services (AFS) license was suspended because HJ Shortland & Co has ceased to carry on a financial services business because its sole director, Harris Shortland, was incarcerated.

Harris Shortland has lodged an appeal, due to be heard later this year, against his conviction. The AFS license was suspended to allow time for the appeal to be heard and determined and to ensure that HJ Shortland & Co takes the necessary steps to meet the obligations of an AFS licensee before recommencing its financial services business.

Smuggled 40 grams of cocaine into Alice Springs

Financial advisor Harris Shortland was sentenced to six and a half years in prison – with an expected non-parole period of four years – for smuggling 40 grams of cocaine into Alice Springs.

A jury found Shortland guilty of importing a marketable quantity of cocaine from Los Angeles to Alice Springs inside a motorbike helmet in July 2018.

He was also found guilty of possessing $18,000 from the sale of cocaine in Alice Springs and of supplying a commercial quantity of cocaine in the town between December 2017 and July 2018.

Justice Graham Hiley handed Shortland a separate sentence for each charge, but said they would be served with a “substantial degree of concurrence”.

“Your conduct is particularly serious for a number of reasons,” Justice Hiley said. “Your involvement involved several transactions over a period of time between May and August 2018. It only ceased when police intercepted the helmet package in the middle of August. There is no reason why you may not have continued to engage in drug supply after that. You were the major beneficiary of the profits that were derived from those dealings.”

Despite the sentence, Justice Hiley described Shortland as a person of “good character” with no prior convictions and “very good” prospects of rehabilitation.

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