Man, 46, goes off the rails

A 46-YEAR-OLD man removed by Bundaberg police from a south-bound passenger train for causing a disturbance was later found to be wanted for a raft of old dishonesty and court avoidance charges, Bundaberg Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

Michael Robert Smith, a disability pensioner, formerly of Townsville, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud for pawning a mobile phone at Cash Converters, Woodridge on March 2, March 19 and May 6, 2004.

He pleaded guilty to a separate fraud charge from July 30, 2006, which related to the presentation of a stolen $554 cheque at Rockhampton.

In addition, he pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to appear in court and a single charge of disqualified driving.

Police Prosecutor Sgt Barry Stevens said police were called to the Bundaberg train station on Friday to remove Smith because of his behaviour and checks found he was wanted for failing to appear on numerous charges.

Barrister Nick Larter, of Legal Aid Queensland, said Mr Smith's predominantly itinerant lifestyle was the main cause of his multiple failure to appear charges.

Mr Larter said Smith, a former fisherman, had suffered a serious back injury some years ago and the heavy sedation needed to cope with his injury had caused him to miss his numerous court dates.

“It was his intention, before he was detrained in Bundaberg, to head to Caboolture and set up a stable environment to properly care for his partner and his own medical conditions,” he said.

Mr Larter said much of his client's criminal history was old.

Magistrate Jennifer Batts ordered Smith be convicted and sentenced to a total of 12 months imprisonment with an immediate parole release date.



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