Collison enters plea over fraud charge
THE sentencing hearing of a woman who fraudulently spent about $57,000 on a credit card belonging to a local child care centre, will be held in Bowen in May.
Marion May Collison pleaded guilty in Bowen District Court on February 28 to a charge that she dishonestly applied to her use a Westpac card belonging to Bowen and District Child Care Centre while an employee of the centre between September 25, 2010, and February 14, 2017, at Bowen and elsewhere, which yielded her more than $30,000.
After Collison's arraignment, her barrister Matthew Heelan asked that the sentencing hearing be moved to Mackay District Court sittings starting at the end of April.
Mr Heelan said the time frame would help Collison pay restitution to the centre as she had recently learned she had become the beneficiary of property from a deceased estate.
"If allowed time on bail to administer affairs she would be able to completely compensate the victim," Mr Heelan said.
"She would be able to make arrangements between now and April."
Mr Heelan said Collison had already paid back $27,624.18, with a balance of about $29,600 still to be paid.
When questioned by Judge Gregory Lynham why the hearing should be moved to Mackay, Mr Heelan said his client had "embarrassing instructions she wishes to provide at the sentence" and would prefer they be said in Mackay.
Judge Lynham, however, did not accept this as a valid reason to move the sentencing which could be done in Bowen in May.
"Wherever the sentence be held, it's in open court," he said.
"I wouldn't be surprised if people would travel to Mackay (for it)."
Judge Lynham said he would be amenable to the sentencing being moved to Mackay if it was to be held in the March sittings, as that was soon.
However he said he did not see any benefit to it being held in April in Mackay over May in Bowen.
"It seems to me it's in everyone's interest the matter be dealt with in the Bowen court," Judge Lynham said.
"Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.
"There are people at the back of the court today that would like to be here at the time of sentencing."
Collison's bail was extended until sentencing hearing.
"I have granted bail in the hope or expectation the complainant will be compensated in full for their loss by the time of the sentence," Judge Lynham said.
Collison's sentencing will be held in Bowen District Court on May 22.