A MAN who stole a charity donation tin whose contents were for acutely ill children has been convicted of larceny and placed on a 10-month Community Corrections Order.
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Michael Williams, 40, of Inner Crescent, Bowenfels, appeared in person and in custody in Bathurst Local Court, where he entered a plea of guilty.
His solicitor, Mr Rump, told the court he was instructed the value of the cash was only $8.
Magistrate Catherine Follent interrupted and said: "It says up to $300 [in the police facts]."
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Mr Rump continued by saying the charity tin contained coins, which Ms Follent said was "destined for acutely ill children".
Mr Rump said his client had taken responsibility for the theft and was willing to make a donation to the Make A Wish Foundation, which was meant to get the money in the tin.
Williams, who appeared via audio-visual link, told the court the tin "had no markings on it" and he didn't know it was for Make A Wish, which grants wishes to terminally ill children.
Mr Rump said his client acknowledged what he had done and said "it was a very difficult time for him".
He said his client was using ice at the time, suffers from schizophrenia, had been through a relationship breakdown, had a very sick father and was a carer for his friend. Mr Rump said he was told by his client that he was overwhelmed by the situation he faced and resorted to drugs.
Mr Rump said Williams had, since offending, made a commitment to stay off ice and had an interview lined up for a job in Newcastle.
In submissions, police prosecutor Sergeant Pearce said despite Williams' assertions, the donation tin would have had markings indicating where the money was going. Sergeant Pearce said a conviction was warranted.
In sentencing, Ms Follent said Williams' early plea of guilt entitled him to a 25 per cent discount on his sentence.
She said while Williams was using ice at the time he stole the tin, which was at a service station, the court could not take that into account as he was responsible for his own conduct.
While the theft was opportunistic, and not well-planned, Ms Follent described it as "reprehensible" given the money was intended to go to ill children.
She said she didn't accept the tin had no markings.
The police facts said Williams stole property, to the value of up to $300, on February 7.
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