A man involved in two burglaries and an attempted burglary in Bendigo has escaped a prison sentence, but has to undertake extensive unpaid community work.
Shane Ian Smith, 48, was sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court yesterday to an 18-month community corrections order with 250 hours of community work for aggravated burglary, burglary, two charges of theft, attempted burglary, failing to answer bail, and contravening bail conditions.
Smith and a co-offender broke into a Mundy Street business in the early hours of February 6 last year and stole $3000, while a person was sleeping upstairs.
He was later arrested and bailed, but left for Western Australia and failed to appear at court.
Smith later returned to Bendigo and on August 15, he and his co-offender Thomas Towle broke into the shed of a home in Napier Street, Eaglehawk, and stole several power tools.
Smith and Towle also attempted to break into a Sailors Gully Road business by jemmying open the door on August 16. Two days later, police searched Towle’s home and found Smith hiding under a pile of dirty clothes in the laundry.
More court news:
When Smith pleaded guilty to the offences in January, his defence lawyer Nicholas Rolfe told the court his client’s offending stemmed from drug use, but he had since stopped using drugs and associating with others involved in drugs.
Yesterday, Mr Rolfe said Smith’s offending began at the age of 29, following a stabbing that saw him begin to use drugs, and his life had been difficult since then.
In sentencing Smith, magistrate Sarah Leighfield stressed the seriousness of his offending.
Referring to a victim impact statement from the victim of the second burglary, Ms Leighfield noted Smith’s actions not only had a financial impact, but had left the person affected feeling unsafe.
Ms Leighfield said she had taken into account a report from Corrections Victoria and a psychological report.
She was not bound to sentence Smith in parity with Towle, she said, because the co-offender was sentenced in relation to more matters and had many more prior convictions.
Towle was sentenced in December to six months’ imprisonment for 32 offences.
Ms Leighfield said the length of the community corrections order and the number of community work hours reflected the seriousness of the offending.
Smith was also ordered to undertake assessment and treatment for drug use, and to pay $3000 compensation in relation to the first offence.
Ms Leighfield said Smith would have faced three months in jail and a community corrections order if not for his guilty plea.
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