Woman facing jail time

AN emotional Angela Sheree Russell broke down in tears and wept in the Emerald Magistrates Court after being told her extensive previous history meant she was facing possible jail time.

The mother of two was already serving a probation order when she appeared before court on two separate charges, one of fraud and another of assault.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Kevin Ongheen said on December 24 last year, Russell entered a Blackwater retail business and removed a men's watch worth $250, placed it in her trolley and left without paying.

In the second incident on February 5, Russell challenged a woman to a street fight after accusing the women's son of sleeping with her daughter.

Sgt Ongheen said Russell then opened the car door where the woman was sitting and punched her in the ear with a clenched fist.

Defence solicitor Anne Murray played down the roadside assault.

"It wasn't so much as a punch but a backhand," Mrs Murray said.

She said her client had a problem with prescription drugs which was the result of "interference with a doctor" in 2004.

"Since that time she has had a small problem with drugs which she is now getting under control," she said. "She has random and regular drug tests and she has passed every one since July last year, except one."

She highlighted how the watch was taken on a "spur of the moment" and was later recovered and returned.

Mrs Murray said the family pressures of raising her children as a single mother also took its toll.

"She (Russell) has been caring for the kids, who don't have any support," she said.

Magistrate Ron Muirhead said Russell's complete disregard for the law was "unbelievable".

"Had this been a first time offence it would still have been serious enough," Mr Muirhead said.

"You've been fined, put on probation … and now unbelievably you are still offending."

Russell was found guilty of common assault and attempted fraud and sentenced to two months' jail, which combined with her existing sentences made it "in effect an eight-month prison term" according to Mr Muirhead, with immediate parole.

"I'm stretching the law to the limit but I've taken into account the property was recovered and in view of your personal circumstances," he said.

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