Mandurah: mother denied spent conviction on stolen cheque charges

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A MOTHER who deposited $1500 worth of stolen bank cheques into her bank account was denied a spent conviction when she appeared in Mandurah Magistrates Court on Friday .

Jody Annette Howlett (26) pleaded guilty to attempting to gain money by fraud, gaining money by fraud and possessing stolen cheques.

Police prosecutor Constable Sean Discombe said National Australia Bank posted out a new cheque book to a business with 200 industry number cheques in March 2017, but it was taken by an unknown person.

Constable Discombe said Howlett visited NAB Mandurah on December 7, 2017 with two cheques taken from the stolen cheque book and deposited $1500 into her bank account.

Police said Howlett attempted to gain more money and visited NAB again on December 17, 2017 and asked staff for $700 in cash but they declined as they questioned the legitimacy of her request.

No cash was handed over to Howlett and she was charged by police.

Duty lawyer Claire Hay said although the mother-of-two used the stolen cheques, she didn’t use the money she gained from them.

Defence said Howlett was using methamphetamine but she was now clean.

Howlett was also short of money.

Ms Hay said Howlett was hoping to be granted a spent conviction as she had no prior criminal record.

“It’s not a trivial offence but (the offences) were in the context of Ms Howlett’s drug use,” Ms Hay said.

Constable Discombe opposed granting Howlett a spent conviction because she committed “top offences”.

“These types of offences should be disclosed to an employer,” he said.

“This is the type of offence, should she fall back, she might reoffend”.

Magistrate Vivian Edwards said Howlett’s compliance to a drug program was positive and suggested she was “in a place to not reuse”.

Magistrate Edwards sentenced Howlett to a nine-month community based order with program and supervision requirements as well as 80 hours of community work.

She denied Howlett a spent conviction on the basis the offences weren’t trivial, and also for the level of dishonesty involved.

“There was time and effort taken to gain funds with possession of the cheques,” she said.

“It’s early days and you may fall back in habit and be tempted to meet bad habits”.

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