Community detention for truck driver
A Whitby truck driver who received more than $40,000 of overpayments from Work and Income was sentenced to community detention last Tuesday.
Peter Ian Brookes, 46, pleaded guilty to three counts of wilful omission and falsifying a document.
The offending took place between May 3, 2010, and May 2, 2013. During that time, Brookes worked for three employers, but he told Work and Income only once that he was working a casual job. He was overpaid $40,382.46. Defence lawyer Sonia Thistoll said Brookes was the sole income earner for his partner and one child.
‘‘ He has huge financial pressures, which is what lead to this offending,’’ she said.
She said Brookes was paying off a mortgage on his Whitby home and losing his job would put that in jeopardy.
‘‘The efforts he has made to get on top of his matters and avoid bankruptcy would be in vain.’’
Ms Thistoll said Work and Income could have data-matched Brookes and found out that he was working.
Ministry of Education lawyer Anitesh Govind replied that the obligation was on the offender to tell the ministry whether he was working.
Judge Tony Walsh said because Brooke was working as a driver, community detention made sense.
‘‘You could go to prison for this type of offending,’’ he said.
‘‘I consider more is to be gained by keeping you in the community.’’
He convicted Brookes and sentenced him to six months’ community detention and 350 hours’ community work.