Lawyer blasts police over evidence

BUNDABERG barrister Simon Burgess blasted the Queensland Police Service over the lack of evidence provided during a probation hearing in court yesterday morning.

The barrister was defending Neo Hector Urizar, 22, formerly of East Bundaberg, on a breach of probation offence.

Bundaberg Magistrates Court was told that from early September to late October last year, Urizar broke into vehicles in the Bundaberg area and stole many items including CDs, cash, handbags and a backpack, iPods and other items that he sold to support his $300-a-day drug habit.

Urizar pleaded guilty to 14 stealing and property-related offences, including entering premises and stealing while on parole.

But Mr Burgess said it was difficult to suggest a sentence when no restitution was being sought by the police prosecution, who had not provided values for any of the items stolen.

“The Bundaberg police are clearly sometimes stretched ... but the court is unable to guess at those important figures,” he said.

The barrister said that considering his client’s criminal history was studded with stealing offences, and previously having been sentenced to a 12-month jail term for similar offences, an 18-month jail term would be appropriate for the latest set of charges.

Magistrate Jennifer Batts agreed her sentencing task was made more difficult without the arresting officers’ information on the value of the stolen items.

“I am unable to make any order for restitution whatsoever. None has been sought,” she said.

“I have no information except on the types of objects that you were removing from the vehicles.

“With the number of complainants and items, there has been a loss in the community and I don’t have a piece of information in front of me.”

The magistrate took into account Urizar’s age and guilty plea during sentencing.

“You were vague about admissions because you were drug-affected at the time,” Ms Batts said.

She convicted and sentenced Urizar to 18 months in prison, declaring 69 days already served.

His parole date was set for June 2.



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