Man's $17,000 worth of crime

HE OWES more than $17,000 but Michael Joseph Newton doesn't have a car or even the memory of a holiday as a result of his debt.

The 34-year-old Maryborough man owes the money to the state because he hasn't paid his fines.

Newton appeared in the Maryborough Magistrates Court on a charge of obstructing police.

When Magistrate John Smith asked him about his unpaid fines, Newton said he didn't know how much he owed and he didn't know how he accrued such a massive bill.

“It's clearly an unacceptable situation,” Mr Smith said.

“It's like you treat the court system as a big joke.

“This highlights that SPER has no real regime in relation to enforcing fines imposed by the court.”

Newton already had an extensive criminal and traffic history and added another conviction to his record for obstructing a police officer on September 28.

Police were called to a disturbance at an Amity Street home that night and Newton staggered out of the house to greet the officers.

Prosecutor Sergeant Michael Quirk told the court Newton had been grossly intoxicated, reeked of booze and was slurring his words.

Newton was told not to go back into the house but he tried to anyway and became abusive towards police when they tried to stop him.

He continued his tirade after his arrest, kicking and head-butting the police car and shouting out once he arrived at the watch-house. A padded cell kept him safe until he sobered up.

Sgt Quirk said Newton had accrued a SPER debt of more than $20,000 but he'd managed to pay off about $3000.

The remainder of $17,346 was being paid off in $20 increments out of Newton's disability pension.

Defence lawyer Tammy Kerle said her client was highly intoxicated after combining alcohol with prescription medication.

“He has a very vague recollection of what happened,” Ms Kerle said.

Newton was not fined again.

Mr Smith sentenced him to two months jail, wholly suspended for two years.



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