Shocking crimes that came before the Gatton court in 2020
FROM tradies taking money and not completing the job, to disturbing cases of animal cruelty, these are some of the biggest cases heard in the Gatton court this year.
Lockyer carpenter took 20k deposit, never did the job
Evan Neil Wesche was ordered to pay more than $20,000 in compensation to his victim and fined $5000 in the Gatton Magistrates Court in November, after the well-known Lockyer Valley carpenter took a huge deposit from a client but never completed the job
The matter was referred to the Office of Fair Trading after Wesche's victim made a complaint.
The court heard Wesche operated a cabin construction business on Woodlands Road in Gatton and traded under the name Creative Cabins.
In April 2019, a Lockyer Valley family engaged with Wesche, a 65-year-old cabinet maker, to construct a two-bedroom removable cabin.
Wesche sent an invoice for the job to his victim and asked for a 50 per cent deposit be paid into his account before work would commence.
The invoice included the company name Creative Cabins Pty Ltd, logo, description of goods and services and a phone number along with payment instructions for the money to go into Wesche's ANZ Access account.
The victim family paid Wesche $20,500 in two separate transactions on April 10 and 11, 2019, by direct deposit into Wesche's account, but no work ever started on the cabin, the court heard.
The victim was represented in court by lawyers from the Office of Fair Trading.
In their submissions the lawyer's said between April 2019 and October 2019, numerous attempts were made by the victim to secure a date for the completion and delivery.
Alternative completion dates were negotiated with Wesche in an attempt for the family to get their cabin delivered.
To date, no goods or services have been supplied by Wesche to the victim, and no refund paid, the victims lawyers said.
The Office of Fair Trading said Wesche was given numerous opportunities to respond to the victim's complaint, but the court heard Wesche did not co-operate with investigators at all.
"He also failed to provide any remedy to the affected consumer," the Office of Fair Trading said.
The court heard that on December 10, Wesche offered to pay the victim a partial payment of compensation of $2000.
The Office of Fair Trading said the victim declined the payment as they believed the offer was "too little too late" and an insult to them.
The Office of Fair Trading told the court it was reasonable to expect the works to be carried out in a timely and professional manner after the victim responded to Wesche's request for a deposit in good faith.
Wesche was represented in court by solicitor Nick Gillece who said his client was a respected member of the Lockyer Valley community and once operated his business with 15 full-time employees.
The court heard Wesche deregistered his company in July 2020, as the 65-year-old had reached retirement.
Mr Gillece said his client was "remorseful and embarrassed", however Magistrate Graham Lee rejected that claim and said it was hardly the case given Wesche had not co-operated with investigators and offered an "insulting" amount of compensation to his victim.
Magistrate Lee said it was a "complex exercise" sentencing Wesche for the offence, balancing his age with a fine that was "just and fair in the circumstances".
Mr Lee ordered Wesche to pay his victim $20,500 in compensation.
Wesche was also fined $5000 referred to SPER.
He was also ordered to pay $103.60 in costs to the Office of Fair Trading.
The conviction was recorded.
Grantham man blows whopping 8x legal blood alcohol reading
The Gatton Magistrates Court was dumbfounded when it heard a Grantham man blew a blood alcohol reading of 0.4, eight times the legal driving limit.
Dean McCamish appeared on Monday, November 16 after he was arrested on October 26, for obstructing police.
Police Prosecutor Senior Sergeant Al Windsor said the blood alcohol reading was the "highest I've ever heard of" and said McHamish clearly had more tolerance than the average human being.
Senior Sergeant Windsor said police were called to McCamish's Grantham home at 10.30pm on October 25, following a noise complaint from neighbours.
Senior Sergeant Windsor said when police arrived, they heard loud music blaring from McHamish's house and found the 53-year-old to be highly intoxicated.
The court was told that McCamish yelled and swore at police, telling them they had no right to come to his house and tell him to turn the music off and give directions in his own home.
At 12.10am on October 26, police returned to McCamish's house following another complaint and attempted to de-escalate the situation.
Senior Sergeant Windsor said McCamish continued to yell at police and refused to turn down the music and was subsequently arrested.
After being transported to the Gatton watch-house, police conducted a blood-alcohol test which showed McHamish was extremely intoxicated, blowing an astonishing reading of 0.4.
Represented by duty lawyer James Ryan, it was revealed McCamish suffered a broken back more than 30 years ago and was riddled with arthritis.
Mr Ryan said his client "clearly had issues with alcohol" and is also medicated for schizophrenia.
Magistrate Graham Lee analysed McCamish's six page long criminal history which had included a strong history of similar offending.
Mr Lee said most people would "not be alive" with a blood alcohol reading of 0.4.
McCamish was convicted and fined $750 referred to SPER.
A conviction was recorded.
NO CONVICTIONS RECORDED:
'DISTURBING': Man kicked animal to death outside pub
CCTV footage revealed Jack Saunders, 22, kicked a pigeon to death outside the Royal Hotel along Gatton's main street in October.
Police prosecutor senior sergeant Al Windsor told the court that Saunders, after kicking the bird, left it to die on the footpath.
Saunders pleaded guilty to one charge of animal cruelty in Gatton Magistrates Court on Monday, November 9.
Senior sergeant Al Windsor told the court that on October 1, Saunders had been drinking at the pub, when he became frustrated and lashed out on the bird.
Police later questioned Saunders at the Gatton Watchhouse.
"He stated he had gone outside and got frustrated, he kicked the pigeon in frustration," senior sergeant Windsor said.
"He didn't render assistance to the animal, and subsequently left it for dead.
"He stated he intentionally carried out the act but didn't think it would result in the death of the pigeon."
Senior sergeant Windsor said police were initially called to the pub at 9.30pm following reports that a male person was armed with a handgun and had threatened staff and patrons.
Police spoke to several patrons, who observed a patron to be holding a pigeon who had a limp neck.
The pigeon was later found dead inside the hotel.
The animal cruelty charge was just one of four charges Saunders fronted court for after his drunken night out.
Represented by duty lawyer James Ryan, it was revealed Saunders started drinking when the pub opened that morning.
Later that evening, Saunders and a friend had wrestled in the pokies room, when Saunders kicked another patron at the hotel.
Senior sergeant Windsor told the court that the patron decided not to press assault charges, but other patrons were concerned about the duo's behaviour.
The court heard Saunders then moved into the bar area, where he then started a verbal fight with another friend.
He only left the hotel when his mate left the pub.
The duo moved onto the footpath where staff tried to convince a heavily intoxicated Saunders to leave.
A short while later, Saunders returned, grabbing the shirt of another person before pushing and shoving them.
The hotel supplied CCTV footage to police.
Saunders pleaded guilty to two charges of public nuisance, and one charge of failing to leave a licenced premise.
Magistrate Graham Lee was not impressed with Saunders' behaviour, in particular the animal cruelty incident.
Saunders previously appeared before the court with a criminal history record dating back to 2018, where he was placed on a good behaviour bond for possessing drug utensils.
"I find it quite disturbing to say the least," Mr Lee said.
"The animal cruelty charge is a very serious charge, and it is there for a reason - the communities are in horror of cruelty to animals."
For kicking the pigeon to death, Saunders was fined $3000, which was referred to SPER, and no conviction was recorded.
For two charges of public nuisance and one failing to leave a premise, he was fined $500, referred to SPER and no conviction was recorded.
Lowood teen swindles $250 with Facebook marketplace scam
Tanyasha Rose Dufficy pleaded guilty to one count of fraud - dishonestly gain benefit or advantage after listing a motorbike for sale online.
The Gatton Magistrates Court heard the Somerset teen was able to find a buyer in no time but the bike wasn't hers to sell - and it wasn't for sale.
The court heard the 18-year-old deleted the ad as soon as money had landed in her account.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Al Windsor said the Lowood woman posted the advertisement for a 1989 Yamaha motorcycle on Facebook marketplace about midnight on June 6.
"(A buyer) has agreed with the seller involved to purchase the bike and would pick it up the following day," Sgt Windsor said.
" (Dufficy) has provided personal bank details and the victim has transferred $250, being the agreed price for the motorcycle."
Instead of following through on her side of the deal, Dufficy stopped replying to the buyer.
"As a result, the bike was never collected," Sgt Windsor said.
"The victim has made a complaint to police."
The court heard Dufficy had listed the ad using her partner's social media account, linking him to the offence.
But, when police turned up at the door to question the pair, Dufficy told police it was her.
"She said she had stolen the victim's money after she had seen his expression of interest," Sgt Windsor said.
Though Dufficy's lawyer sought a good behaviour bond for his client, Magistrate Peter Saggers was not convinced it was a strong enough penalty.
She was ordered to pay a $500 fine as well as $250 restitution to the victim.
No conviction was recorded.
Tradie pockets client's $2000+ deposit before closing shop
A MAN whose business crumbled pocketed more than $2000 of a prospective client's money, without completing the work he agreed to do.
A 68-year-old woman noticed David Hourigan's ad on Gumtree, which offered repair services.
The Gatton Magistrates Court heard in July the woman called Hourigan in December 2019 to arrange to have part of her property fixed.
"The defendant has attended the complainant's address and quoted the complainant approximately $2254 for the repair work to be conducted," Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Al Windsor said.
"This was agreed to and the quote was signed off on that day - the complainant has transferred the full amount."
The pair agreed the work would be completed on January 7, 2020, but when the date came and passed, Hourigan didn't show up.
"The complainant made a number of attempts to contact him by phone and email but, only a week later, she was able to contact him about his non attendance," Sergeant Windsor said.
"He said his business had ceased trading and that would attest to his inability to refund the money and inability to carry out the work."
Police went to Hourigan's home on March 10, where he admitted he had received the money but had spent it on business expenses.
"Prior to carrying out the work, the business had been wrapped up," Sgt Windsor said.
"(He said) he wasn't in a position to return that money."
In court, Hourigan told Magistrate Kay Ryan he had "overextended".
"I tried to do too much," Hourigan said.
He told Ms Ryan he had taken out his super and was waiting for it to clear into his account.
"I should have that on Wednesday or Thursday, so I can pay her back the full amount," he said.
Hourigan pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud and was ordered to pay restitution of $2254 and a $500 fine.
No conviction was recorded.
Read more stories by Hugh Suffell.