Shoptheft, Go Equipped for Stealing – Suspended Sentence

Our client was a 50-year old man charged with two separate counts of shoptheft and one charge of going equipped. He has a long history of shoptheft and various other dishonesty offences. At the Magistrates’ Court he received an immediate term of 1 month imprisonment.

He appealed to the County Court. We acted on his behalf at the Melbourne County Court.

In obtaining instructions, it was clear that our client had been suffering significant depression as a result of a series of family tragedies that led to drug use. He had been more recently clean and his youngest daughter had fallen pregnant with father of the baby not interested in taking part of the baby’s life. Our client took on the responsibility for her and her newborn child and also had the responsibility of caring 3 times per week for his other grandchildren (one of each parent had died in previous tragedies).

We were able to obtain psychological report to explain the attachment to remaining family members and new-found responsibilities.

The shopthefts were for our client’s own clothing and for Christmas presents to his grandchildren. The case was deferred to allow proof of ongoing rehabilitation and indication that if no further offending and evidence of ongoing counselling, a non-immediate custodial sentence would be considered.

Our client was charged for offending he didn’t commit in interim. It sent him into relapse with thought that he would be incarcerated, and committed further shoptheft just before Christmas to provide presents for grandchildren whilst he would likely be in custody. Despite similar re-offending, submissions were able to be made about the context of them and the associate relapse (re: depression).

Ultimately, his Honour agreed to impose a wholly suspended sentence (despite client being remanded on Magistrates’ Court offending) in order to improve prospects for rehabilitation and to allow the Magistrates’ Court a flexibility in sentencing to a therapeutic disposition rather than custodial.


DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 25/02/2013