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Carpenter v Commissioner of Police[2022] QDC 160

Carpenter v Commissioner of Police[2022] QDC 160

DISTRICT COURT OF QUEENSLAND

APPELLATE JURISDICTION

JUDGE SMITH

Appeal No 1076 of 2022

NATASHA FAY CARPENTER Appellant

and

COMMISSIONER OF POLICE Respondent

BRISBANE

12.10 PM, TUESDAY, 12 JULY 2022

JUDGMENT

HIS HONOUR:   Yes.  Well, this is an appeal by the appellant against the sentence imposed in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on the 12th of April 2022.  On that occasion, she pleaded guilty to 20 counts of stealing, 13 counts of fraud, one count of possessing tainted property, and one breach of bail.  She effectively received two years imprisonment to serve eight months.  A schedule of facts was tendered to the court and submissions were made by the prosecutor.  They were serious charges.  The total quantum was about $78,000 and it involved stealing from various victims, particularly where she was cleaning.

She pleaded guilty although there appeared to be a late plea.  There was limited cooperation and indeed denials in some of the interviews that I saw on the facts.  The solicitor put before the court the antecedents of the appellant.  Her father had died.  In 1991 there were domestic violence orders involving her mother.  Her mother was in an aged care facility with onset dementia.  There were two adult children.  There’s some back pain.  She suffered from depression.  She went to school halfway through year 10.  Her first husband died in 2014 which had a significant effect on her and she commenced to take illicit substances.

Obviously enough, that led to the offending in this case.  At the time the matter was dealt with in the Magistrates Court, the court proceeded on the basis that the appellant did not have a criminal history.  As it turns out, after further investigation, the appellant has a dated conviction for 2007 for social security fraud involving about $7000.  An order was made under the Crimes Act with respect to that.  I am told by the appellant today she wishes to be out of jail so she can look after her Mother.  She is presently in an aged care facility and is being looked after.

The Crown concedes an error occurred in the process below in that she was not properly arraigned on all of the charges.  Can I ask you one thing at this stage, Mr Godfrey?

MR GODFREY:   Yes, your Honour.

HIS HONOUR:   Am I right in thinking the magistrate sentenced the appellant on the basis of the circumstance of aggravation and you’re now contending I shouldn’t so sentence her?

MR GODFREY:   Yes, your Honour.  My reading of the transcript, what has occurred, is that the prosecutor submitted that the total quantum was over $100,000.  However, as I pointed out in my outline, it seems that Magistrate Ryan took the figure of $78,000-odd to be the total quantum.  That’s actually the figure that is used, was used by the prosecutor in the schedule of facts for compensation.  However, even going off that $78,000 figure, that arrives, that figure is the sum of an individual restitution amount for some of the charges and includes some charges where the restitution is sought with over $5000.

Therefore the inference is that the Crown or the prosecution at first instance sought for the quantum for some charges to be over $5000 for stealing when the appellant was never charged with a circumstance of aggravation.

HIS HONOUR:   Yes.  Well, what I’m really getting at is that the Magistrate proceeded on the basis of the higher sum when, lawfully, he should not have.

MR GODFREY:   That’s so.

HIS HONOUR:   Well, I think, in those circumstances bearing in mind I’m now only resentencing for a lesser sum, I think it appropriate   

MR GODFREY:   Yes.

HIS HONOUR:      to interfere with the sentence to an extent to reflect the lesser sum in this case without the circumstances of aggravation.

MR GODFREY:   Yep.

HIS HONOUR:   Otherwise, I would have thought the sentence was entirely within range.

MR GODFREY:   Yep.

HIS HONOUR:   As you’ve contended.  But in light of the error, I think the appropriate order is as follows.  (1) The appeal is allowed to the extent that the parole release date is fixed as the 12th of October 2022 in lieu of the 12th of December 2022.  (2) The appeal is otherwise dismissed and the other of the magistrate is confirmed. 

MR GODFREY:   Thank you.

HIS HONOUR:   Any other reasons needed at this stage, Mr Godfrey?

MR GODFREY:   No.  Thank you, your Honour.

HIS HONOUR:   All right.  So what I’ve done is I’ve reduced your parole release date by two months in light of the error involved in this case, all right.

APPELLANT:   Thank you, your Honour.

HIS HONOUR:   Nothing else I need to deal with at this stage, Mr Godfrey?

MR GODFREY:   No, your Honour.  My apologies for the delays my appearance by phone has caused today.

HIS HONOUR:   No.  That’s fine.  Thanks for your assistance in the case.  All right.

MR GODFREY:   Thank you.

HIS HONOUR:   Adjourn the court.

______________________

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Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Carpenter v Commissioner of Police

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Carpenter v Commissioner of Police

  • MNC:

    [2022] QDC 160

  • Court:

    QDC

  • Judge(s):

    JUDGE SMITH

  • Date:

    12 Jul 2022

Appeal Status

Please note, appeal data is presently unavailable for this judgment. This judgment may have been the subject of an appeal.

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