Probation breach again

A MAN who refused to leave his friend’s home because he had nowhere else to go was in Gympie Magistrates Court on a trespassing charge this week, even though he was still staying at that address.

Richard Barry Ward, 53, was charged with trespassing and for obstructing a police officer on March 30 when police were called to remove him from a Gympie home and he resisted.

When officers arrived, Ward was lying on a mattress and appeared to be affected by alcohol. He told them a medical condition prevented him from getting up, so an ambulance was called and a paramedic assessed him as being fit enough to be taken to hospital.

Ward then said he just wanted to go to sleep and had to be physically moved from the premises.

The court heard there was a long history between Ward and the resident, which had resulted in him being convicted for breaching a number of court orders, for which he had spent time in jail and was currently serving a suspended term of imprisonment and a period of probation.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Manns asked the magistrate to place Ward on an intensive correction order (ICO) to give him the assistance he needed to stop re-offending.

“He is already on probation and a suspended sentence… if he continues, he’s looking at another jail term,” she said.

Ward’s lawyer Leanne Gordon said her client had instructed her that he was invited to live on the property when he had nowhere else to go.

“(The living arrangements are) not a long-term plan. It’s a backup plan that gets used excessively,” she said.

Ms Gordon suggested that parole may be of better assistance to Ward because the reporting conditions of an ICO would be very onerous and possibly set him up to fail.

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin said jail wasn’t the place for Ward, when his biggest crime was an inability to handle alcohol.

“These offences are relatively minor (but) they don’t look minor in context of your history,” she told Ward and sentenced him to a one month prison term with immediate parole.

The operational period of his suspended sentence was extended by three months and he was fined $100 for breaching his probation.

Gympie Times

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