‘Long-run­ning saga’ of theft from Navy cadets

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

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.

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