Fortnight in lock-up wake-up call

A YOUNG man who has been in police custody for the past 12 days has told a court it has made him realise he never wants to lose his freedom.

Nathan Paul Martin’s prayers were answered when a magistrate declared he would spend no further time in custody, despite being convicted on a string of charges.

The 22-year-old pleaded guilty in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court to breaking into a cafe, drink-driving, repeat unlicensed driving, failing to appear in court and two counts of breaching his bail.

Magistrate Dennis Beutel asked Martin whether he really wanted to turn his life around before sentencing him to a suspended jail term.

The court heard that Martin and another man stole cash, two mobile phones and a kite surfing harness from Enzo’s on the Beach, when they smashed their way in on October 11 last year.

The pair used a rock or piece of concrete to break through five weatherboards at the beachfront business in Scarness, Prosecutor Senior Constable Jeanette Grigoris said.

Once inside, they found a small sledgehammer and used it to smash a safe.

They stole a container of cash along with a tip jar full of loose change.

When police caught up with Martin, he was found carrying two torches and a black bag that contained coins and mobile phones.

He had been caught driving unlicensed and with an alcohol concentration less than two months prior, the court heard.

His reading was .033 and it was his second time before the courts for such offences.

On February 17, Martin was picked up in Ayr, on his way to Cairns, and has been in police custody ever since.

“That’s one thing I’ve learned about being in prison, that it takes away your freedom,” Martin told the court. “I don’t think I ever want my freedom to be taken away from me.”

Mr Beutel fined Martin $1100 and disqualified his licence for five months for the driving offences.

He sentenced him to 12 days jail for the failure to appear and one breach of bail but ordered that pre-sentence custody count as time already served.

Martin was further sentenced to two months and one week jail for the break-in and the second breach of bail, with both terms wholly suspended.

He will face court on two further charges on March 18.

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