Jail only when all else fails

IF THERE was one thing serial shoplifter Cody Lee Broad learnt yesterday, it was that the Gympie Magistrate cares about what happens to young men like him when they go to prison, especially for minor offences.

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin told the court she had done everything possible to keep Broad out of jail after he risked his freedom by stealing a $50 T-shirt from a Mary Street shop on September 10.

Broad, 20, committed the offence with three suspended prison sentences hanging over his head. He had been sentenced to two suspended terms of imprisonment in November for breaching bail and creating a public nuisance and served 21 days in custody for common assault. Broad had also been placed on an intensive corrections order in August for stealing; the court heard his criminal history was littered with like offences.

The court heard Broad had lied and cheated his way through life to combat learning difficulties and behavioural disorders, only recently diagnosed as a result of a head injury he acquired in a car crash.

Mrs Baldwin accepted this as an explanation for Broad’s behaviour and asked defence solicitor Corey Jenkins if his client had kleptomania as well.

Mr Jenkins said his client left home after an argument with nothing but the clothes on his back. “I’m instructed that’s why he reluctantly took the T-shirt. He simply didn’t want to stink. He knew he was on an ICO, that the dominoes had been stacked.”

The court heard the situation was even more serious for Broad when Community Corrections officer Patrice White told the court he had breached a probation order as well as the ICO and suspended sentences.

“(The Department) recommends both orders be revoked and he be re-sentenced for the original offences,” she said and tendered a report from Broad’s probation officer which outlined how he failed to show up for community service and forged a supervisor’s signature to sign himself off.

“I think I can do this,’ Mrs Baldwin said with a sigh and directed her attention to Broad. “You know, I have an option to send you to jail for six months. Part of me had decided that was what I was going to do. On the flipside, that sounds like the easy option. You can go in and do your time and come out without any support for rehabilitation. The problem is (shady characters inside jail) will take advantage of your stupidity. You tend to be easily led. I also need to make sure you and your mates out there know they can’t put it over the ‘silly old woman’ and they will also reach the end of the line. I also have to consider (the business owner) you stole from.”

Broad, of Coonowrin Street, Beerwah, had the suspended sentences extended, the ICO revoked and was re-sentenced to five months in jail with immediate parol for the original offence of stealing. For the current stealing offence he was sentenced to one month’s jail with immediate parole. For the breaching probation he was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

Gympie Times

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