Man jailed for touch club theft

A SHARON man who stole more than $5000 from two Bundaberg touch football clubs has been jailed.

Frederick Hallagan, 63, pleaded guilty in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court to stealing $4100 from the Bundaberg Junior Touch Association and $1150 from the Bundaberg Touch Association while volunteering as the clubs' canteen convenor.

Police Prosecutor Senior Constable Wayne Puxty said the money was stolen in a three-week period in November last year when the clubs' treasurers were away.

Snr Const Puxty said the usual practice was for Hallagan to give the money to the treasurers after juniors practice on Tuesday nights and after the seniors training on Fridays.

When asked, Hallagan told one of the treasurers he did not have the money as his daughter-in-law had accidentally banked it.

Police interviewed Hallagan on December 17 and he did not mention the money had been accidentally deposited.

“In the interview, he alleged he left the cash on his front car seat and car unlocked as he went to get goods from the Sugarland shopping centre,” Snr Const Puxty said.

Defence lawyer Christine Delaney said Hallagan would be willing to repay the funds.

“He is on a disability support pension and therefore hasn't been able to pay it back,” she said.

Ms Delaney said Hallagan suffered from asbestosis, chronic depression, a herniated disc, gout and had recently undergone open-heart surgery.

“He was experiencing extreme financial hardship at the time to do with medical bills,” she said.

Magistrate Dennis Beutel noted Hallagan had not attempted to pay any of the money back.

“The fact that one is a junior football club and clubs such as that provide an important community benefit is a matter of concern,” he said.

Hallagan was sentenced to 14 months in prison for taking money from the Bundaberg Junior Touch Association and 10 months in prison for stealing from the Bundaberg Touch Association.

The sentences will be suspended after 4 months and are to be served concurrently. Hallagan was also ordered to pay the money back.

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