Firefighter 'claims' abandoned car

A FIREFIGHTER has appeared in court after he found an abandoned car and tried to claim it for “training purposes”.

Maurice Joseph Saliba, 55, a Queensland Fire and Rescue employee, appeared in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on four charges, including driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle and possession of suspected stolen property.

Police caught Saliba driving a Holden Commodore with no registration plates on September 14.

When they spoke to Saliba, he admitted he had taken the car from a footpath outside a residential property because friends had told him it was abandoned, the court heard.

Saliba produced for police a council sticker he had removed from the car that said the vehicle would be towed if it was not moved by a certain date.

He told the officers he did not know the owner and had not been granted permission to take the car.

Defence solicitor Kellie Grainger said that, after hearing residents’ complaints about the vehicle, Saliba had thought it would be better off with the firefighters, who dismantle car wrecks using the jaws of life during training.

A customer service officer at the council had also made the comment to Saliba that if someone did remove the car, they would be “doing council a favour”, Ms Grainger told the court.

So when Saliba took the car, “it didn’t occur to him he was committing an offence,” she said.

Magistrate Graeme Tatnell convicted Saliba and fined him $500.

The fine was reduced from $1250 to $500 on the grounds of his clean record.

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