CHARITY: Megan Ashleigh Lawton faced Chinchilla court for stealing from a chairity. Pic: Supplied
CHARITY: Megan Ashleigh Lawton faced Chinchilla court for stealing from a chairity. Pic: Supplied

Woman caught stealing from footy club charity bin

THE SUNS AFL Club, like all other clubs, has been struggling finically due to the pandemic, so when the president of the club heard someone had been stealing from the club's charity bin, again, he decided to file a report with police.

The incident occurred in April when Megan Ashleigh Lawton was caught by police stealing cans from the charity bin on Park St Chinchilla, at 3pm.

Then when her court day rolled around for the crime -she was a no-show, something she is has an extensive history of doing.

Lawton finally faced Chinchilla Magistrates Court on Thursday, August 20, and pleaded guilty to one charge of stealing, and one charge of failing to appear.

Police prosecutor senior constable Jodie Tahana said Lawton had used a long metal pole to steal the cans.

"There were clear signs on that cage stating that it was a charitable donation cage in relation to the Chinchilla sun AFL sports club," snr const Tahana said.

"She (told police) she thought they were for just anybody to take."

When the president of the club was contacted by police, snr const Tahana said he did not give anyone permission to take cans and he was the only one allowed to remove them.

"He further stated he was sick of people stealing the cans and whished to make a complaint as the club was really struggling financially because of the COVID-19 crisis."

Snr const Tahana told the court Lawton had eight pages of criminal and traffic history, revealing a pattern of dishonesty and failing to appear.

Because Lawton stole from a local club who relies on donations to keep afloat, snr const Tahana said, "I would ask your honour to impose a term of imprisonment - (and) given her history."

"While it could be considered a relatively minor stealing offence, I'd ask your honour to take into consideration those facts and who those cans belong to."

Defence lawyer Michael Corbin said he disagreed that Lawton needed to serve time behind bars, especially considering Lawton handed herself into police for the warrant that was out for her arrest.

Mr Corbin also made a note that all the cans were handed back to the club, and no loss was suffered.

Although not working at the time, Mr Corbin said Lawton would be working with her mother in September as a subcontractor on an upcoming solar project.

"My submission is… whilst the court could impose a sentence of imprisonment, it does not need to be served… it could in my respectful submission, be a suspended sentence… (if not) immediate parole."

Magistrate Tracy Mossop told Lawton with her criminal history, she could not afford to put one foot wrong, "even stealing cans from a charity is a criminal offence".

"You're a criminal and you can't seem to get away with it, you need to work out how to get away from it," Ms Mossop said.

"You've received sentences of imprisonment in the past, that have involved actual time, served and on parole, and that doesn't deter you."

"The police prosecutors is right, you should be going to jail today."

Although because Lawton it starting to show signs that she detracting from a life of crime, Ms Mossop sentenced her to three months imprisonment with an immediate release date - placing Lawton on parole.

A conviction was recorded.


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