Identity scam revealed in court
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”.