10-month sentence for burglary not excessive, says judge

TEN months' jail for joyriding in a stolen car and breaking into a bottle shop with sledgehammers was not manifestly excessive, a court has ruled.

In June Paul Dudley Currie was sentenced to 30 months' prison, with a parole release date in November, after pleading guilty at the Ipswich Magistrates Court to unlawful use of a motor vehicle and breaking and entering.

He had spent 138 days in custody, however that could not be declared time already served as he was being held on other charges that he was pleading not guilty to.

Currie appealed the sentence, claiming it was manifestly excessive and the months he spent in prison already should have been taken into account.

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The court heard that on January 30 last year police were called to a break-in where a BMW X5 Wagon had been stolen. Later that day the same car was reported at a burglary at a Liquorland in Fairfield, Brisbane.

Currie and four others used sledgehammers to smash the glass in the front doorway of the store. They stole a large quantity of alcohol, loaded it into the four-wheel-drive and fled the scene.

Currie was sentenced on the basis he was a passenger in the stolen car, but a principal offender in the Liquorland burglary.

In deciding the appeal, Ipswich district judge Deborah Bradley said Currie had an extensive history of unlawfully using motor vehicles. He had 44 convictions for the offence as a child, and a further 12 as an adult. He had multiple convictions for burglary.

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Judge Bradley said Currie's history meant a lengthy prison sentence was called for.

"When the appellant's criminal history is taken into account, the factor of personal deterrence assumes significant importance," she said.

"Breaking into a liquor store with sledgehammers and stealing a substantial amount of alcohol is a serious offence and the appellant was a principal offender."

She said if Currie's sentence and pre-sentence jail time were considered together, 35 months' jail with release on parole after 10 months would not be excessive.

The appeal was dismissed.


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