Iden­tity scam re­vealed in court

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

AN IR­ISH na­tional who lied to po­lice about his iden­tity and even went to court un­der a false name in 2012, was fi­nally dealt with for th­ese and other of­fences in the Proser­pine Mag­is­trate’s Court this week.

Matthew Do­herty pleaded guilty to two counts of falsely im­per­son­at­ing another man and one count each of con­tra­ven­ing a po­lice di­rec­tion, pos­sess­ing dan­ger­ous drugs and pos­sess­ing an item used in con­nec­tion with a drug of­fence.

On April 21, 2012, Do­herty was ar­rested by Whit­sun­day Po­lice for be­ing drunk in pub­lic. At the time, he gave a false ID, un­der which he was charged.

On June 25, 2012, he was is­sued with a No­tice to Ap­pear in court (NTA) for driv­ing a car that was un­reg­is­tered and unin­sured. Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor El­iz­a­beth Smith said Do­herty again gave the same false ID and at­tended court un­der that name.

At mid­night on Septem­ber 14, 2014, a heav­ily in­tox­i­cated Do­herty came to the at­ten­tion of po­lice pa­trolling the Air­lie CBD. The 31-year-old had been re­fused en­try to the Down Un­der Bar and was given a move-on di­rec­tion re­quir­ing him to leave the area un­til 6am.

Ms Smith said at this point Do­herty be­gan rum­mag­ing through his pock- ets for ID, but in­stead pulled out a grinder con­tain­ing 0.3g of cannabis.

When Do­herty was found in the area twice more, he was ar­rested and taken to the Whit­sun­day watch house. Here, his fin­ger­prints and pho­tos matched the for­mer false ID and the scam of 2012 was re­vealed.

In court on Mon­day, Do­herty said the false ID be­longed to a per­son he had once shared a back­packer’s hos­tel with. He said he con­tin­ued with the lie be­cause he “had to go along with it”, think­ing he’d be in worse trou­ble if he ac­tu­ally owned up.

The new fa­ther, who is ap­ply­ing to stay in Aus­tralia, said he was wor­ried his visa ap­pli­ca­tion would now “get com­pli­cated” as a re­sult of th­ese charges.

“So you’ll be telling the visa peo­ple you need to be here to look after a baby, but you’re out in Air­lie Beach, late at night with a grinder and some cannabis in your pocket,” mag­is­trate Haydn St­jern­qvist replied.

Do­herty was fined a to­tal amount of $1870 but no con­vic­tions were recorded. He was also banned from en­ter­ing any li­censed premises in the Air­lie CBD be­tween 7pm and 5am for a year, lead­ing to what Mr St­jern­qvist sug­gested would be “lots of babysit­ting in the next 12 months”.

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