Man's crime 'as low as it can get'

"STEALING from a charity box is about as low as it can get."

Those were the words of a magistrate after he sentenced a man to a suspended prison sentence for stealing a charity tin from a Bowen pub earlier this year.

Jonathon Gerald Wallace, 40, of Bowen, pleaded guilty in Bowen Magistrates Court to stealing.

Prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told the court Wallace had taken a guide dog-shaped charity container from the bar of the Grand View Hotel at 7.55pm on March 13.

She said staff told policed the container had not been emptied in "more than a month" and estimated it was "three-quarters full" when taken.

The charity tin, belonging to Guide Dogs Australia, was found empty in the hotel's toilets the following day.

Sgt Myors said the theft had been committed while Wallace was on parole for an offence that was not of a similar nature.

Wallace's solicitor Cleo Rewald told the court her client had been at the Grand View Hotel playing the poker machines that evening.

"He has always enjoyed playing the pokies, but in recent times it has become more frequent," Mrs Rewald said.

She described Wallace's actions as "of an opportunistic nature".

"It's not something he set out to do," she said.

"He's remorseful. He realises it's not the right thing to do."

Mrs Rewald said her client told her there was $87 in the container when he took it.

"He said there were lots of coins and no notes," she said.

However, this is something Magistrate Ron Muirhead disagreed on, saying he believed more money would have been in the container.

"If it was three-quarters full it could have been a large amount," Mr Muirhead said.

"I guess it's impossible to estimate what the amount was.

"I would say it would be far in excess of $87."

Mrs Rewald said her client's criminal history - which included him stealing cigarettes and a phone that were sitting on a chair in a hospital in 2017 - did not "paint him in a great light", but she argued that his offending had tapered off in recent times.

Mr Muirhead sentenced Wallace to three months in prison, suspended for 12 months.

He also ordered he pay $500 in restitution to Guide Dogs Australia.


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