The Presiding Judge in Downing Centre District Court has overturned the Local Court’s guilty verdict against our 34 year old client who under a ‘suspended sentence’.
Our client pleaded guilty to Robbery In Company late last year and was placed on a 2 year ‘suspended prison sentence’.
He was driving his car in Waverley a little over a month later when he was stopped for a random breath test.
While being tested, police observed a pair of latex gloves protruding from below the driver’s seat.
Police asked him about the gloves and he allegedly did not give an adequate explanation.
Police say that our client appeared nervous, highly agitated and was sweating profusely.
They searched his car and located several additional items under and near the driver’s seat, including a 30 cm flat screwdriver, a small torch and most significantly a ‘skeleton key’ typically used to open a variety of locks.
They arrested and charged our with:
‘Possessing Housebreaking Implements’ under section 114 of the Crimes Act’, and
‘Commit Section 114 Offence Having Previously Been Convicted of Indictable Offence’ under section 115.
The law says that if a person is found in possession of items that are capable of being used as housebreaking implements, the onus then shifts to that person (ie to the defendant) to prove that the items were for lawful purposes.
Our client took the witness stand during his Defended Hearing in Waverley Local Court but – given that he was unemployed at the time – the Magistrate rejected his explanation that he used the items for electrical work.
However, on appeal the District Court Judge was persuaded that this was a reasonable possibility and overturned the Local Court Magistrate’s decision.
This means that our client is not in breach of his suspended sentence and will not be sent to prison.