He faked cancer to avoid jail — it nearly worked
A SOUTH Australian conman faked having cancer by putting a blue straw down his pants and pretending it was the top of a colostomy bag in a not-so-cunning plan to avoid being sent to jail.
David Andrew McArthur, 51, took desperate measures to avoid a prison term of seven months - and as a result ended up with a far longer sentence of two years behind bars.
McArthur took a hospital discharge form from a man with a cancer and tried to pass it off as his own in the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court.
The ploy convinced both his own lawyer and the magistrate but a wily police prosecutor spotted the fraud and McArthur was arrested several days later.
He was facing the prospect of going to prison for seven months when he pulled the bizarre stunt on June 21, 2018.
He had been sentenced to seven months and 14 days in prison on October 6, 2015, for numerous counts of deceit, theft and dishonestly dealing with stolen property.
The sentence was suspended, with McArthur ordered to stay out of trouble and remain drug-free for 15 months.
The good behaviour bond was extended after McArthur continued to return positive samples for amphetamines.
On June 21, McArthur faced court with a new lawyer ready to admit to breaching his good behaviour bond through continued drug use and being uncompliant with supervision.
But he had a trick up his sleeve.
McArthur told his lawyer he had "severe medical problems" and produced an incomplete hospital discharge form.
To make the ploy airtight, he put a blue straw down his pants and said it was the hose of a colostomy bag.
At the time the prosecution did not accept the partially filled-out form and the case was adjourned.
Before the next hearing, McArthur "obtained a hospital discharge form" from a man who lived near his father, the sentencing judge said.
Armed with the form, which he had altered to include his name, and feigning illness from cancer, McArthur faced court again.
The subterfuge was accepted by his lawyer and the magistrate but the police prosecutor was not as easily convinced.
She called the hospital and inquired about the form, uncovering the fraud and subsequently ordering McArthur's arrest.
"Despite your counsel's submissions, there was nothing really amateurish about the falsifications ... the substitution was not obvious to the solicitor who was acting for you. Although the magistrate might not have had much opportunity at that stage to look at the document, he did not regard it as suspicious either," Judge Gordon Barrett said.
McArthur was taken into custody on August 21, 2018, and charged with "using medical documents known to have been altered with the intention of influencing the outcome of judicial proceedings".
Judge Barrett said McArthur had a six-page criminal record awash with charges like giving false names to police, deceit to obtain a benefit, using false prescriptions and dishonestly dealing with documents.
In sentencing McArthur on Tuesday, Judge Barrett said if it had not been for the diligence of the prosecutor there would have been a miscarriage of justice.
"This was serious offending against a background of other offences of dishonesty," Judge Barrett said.
"You are a man of mature years who has been shown a good deal of leniency for a very long time."
McArthur was sentenced to two years, three months and 14 days in prison, including the previous suspended sentence, with a non-parole period of one year, one month and three weeks.