In Magistrates Court yesterday [Oct 18], a 39-year-old father pleaded guilty to stealing meat packages valued at almost $60 from the supermarket in Paget, telling the Court he only had $10 and his children needed food.
Senior Magistrate Archie Warner was told that the defendant — who was accompanied by his two children who are both under 16 years old — was captured on the store’s CCTV system in August 2012 as he put the items in his pants pocket and then exited the store without paying for them.
Shop managers reviewed the tapes and confirmed this, and when he came back to the store shop staff called the Police and the defendant was arrested. During the police interview he admitted the theft and offered restitution.
Responding to the Magistrate, he said: “My children are not involved. They were hungry. I only had $10. I picked up meats and put them in my pants pocket. I just started work. I haven’t worked in two years. My children needed food for their lunch for the next day.”
The Senior Magistrate asked: “Your children were hungry?” The defendant replied: “I had no food in the house. I was tired of going around asking people for things.”
The Senior Magistrate told him: “There is no was that you can be justified in taking things because your children are hungry. There are lots of helping agencies.”
The defendant explained that he was married and that he lived with his wife and two children. He also said that he had just gotten a job and had begun work on Monday gone. He reiterated that he only had $10 and that his children were hungry.
Magistrate Warner ordered a Social Inquiry Report and also ordered that the defendant should return on 30th November for sentencing. The Magistrate explained that the report would examine the defendants circumstances and would indicate what help he needed and that this would help in ultimately determining sentence. He was granted bail of $500.
- There was no legal ruling prohibiting identification however upon request [with the stated aim to not identify the children which naming the father indirectly does] Bernews has not named the defendant.
Update: Apologies for the lack of clarity above. When we said the defendant was “accompanied by his two children who are both under 16 years old” we meant when he was stealing the meat he had his children with him. They were not present in Court.
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