‘Long-running saga’ of theft from Navy cadets
WHAT magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist described as the “long-running saga” of a theft from the Whitsunday Navy Cadets, may finally have come to an end in the Proserpine Magistrate’s Court this week.
Adrian Payton John Boughton and Marie Joy Johnson were potentially the last people to plead guilty to charges relating to the theft – in this case the possession of tainted property.
On two occasions in September 2014, a shipping container belonging to the Australian Navy Cadets was broken into in Jubilee Pocket. Items including guns and Navy cadet uniforms were stolen at the time.
On the evening of September 24, police raided a Cannonvale home finding bags belonging to Timothy Paul Jozef Lever, one of the men eventually imprisoned for the theft. They also found Australian Navy Cadet commemorative coins, a box containing medical supplies addressed to the Department of Defence, some Navy cadet baseball caps and a photocopier belonging to the Australian Defence Force.
Lever, who was charged with the theft of these items, told police he’d “stashed” them at Boughton’s home.
Duty lawyer Sherrie Meade said Boughton and Johnson, a couple in a de-facto relationship, knew Lever and had told him he could stay at their place after he broke up with his girlfriend.
Ms Meade said neither of them knew the items he brought with him were stolen.
Police prosecutor Elizabeth Smith said Johnson told police she didn’t know how the items had come to be in her home but she knew there was something “not right” about them.
Ms Smith also noted these matters had been listed for trial twice, with the couple only now pleading guilty as charged.
Ms Meade agreed this was a “very protracted” case, but she argued Boughton and Johnson had experienced “some difficulty” grasping the concept of possessing tainted property, which they now understood.
“If it walks like a duck [and] quacks like a duck, it’s a duck and this was tainted property,” Mr Stjernqvist surmised.
Johnson, who has no criminal history, was fined $330 and had no conviction recorded. Boughton, who has history in Queensland and other states, was fined $550 and convicted for the offence.
“[And] hopefully this is the end of this long-running saga,” Mr Stjernqvist said, although Ms Smith reminded him there was still one missing gun.