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Corrections order for deception


By Lachlan Ellis

A woman facing a number of charges including unregistered driving and deception has been placed on a corrections order by Magistrate Hugh Radford.

Renae Elliott appeared in-person at the Bacchus Marsh Magistrates’ Court on Friday 26 May, represented by a lawyer, Mr Sullivan.

The court heard Ms Elliott was caught by police driving an unregistered car without a current licence, and also took payment for an item online but never delivered said item.

“On the 19th of January 2020, at approximately 9.56 pm, the accused was observed pulling into the BP Service Station on the corner of Rubicon and Albert Street. The accused was at the time driving a blue Mazda that was unregistered. She was asked to produce her licence and was unable to do so…her identity and licence was confirmed by way of further checks and ID confirmed. The checks showed the vehicle’s registration had expired on the 15th of January 2020,” Police Prosecutor Acting Sergeant Watson said.

“On the 7th of April 2020, a victim contacted a person by the name of ‘Chantelle Zoe Forment’ via Facebook Marketplace in relation to purchasing a pair of Airpod Pro earbuds that were for sale for $250…the victim received a message that said she would have to pay via PayID of bank deposit.
“On the 8th of April 2020 the victim agreed and deposited $250 to the PayID account. On the 11th of April 2020 the victim called the number, a female answered the phone. The victim said the items hadn’t arrived, the female hung up on her, and the Facebook account was deleted.”

The victim then noticed the same seller was selling the same item on Facebook Marketplace on the 15th of April, with police inquiries finding the account the money was sent to was Ms Elliott’s account. Ms Elliott made admissions to the offence.

Mr Sullivan told Magistrate Hugh Radford that his client had been subject to an order in the past, but the order pre-dated the offences in question.

“Perhaps what I haven’t drawn Your Honour’s attention to is that Ms Elliott has been subject to CCOs (Community Corrections Orders) for the bulk of the last couple of years. These charges are new, those orders were being dealt with after that expired. The fact that those orders were in place for their full duration is relevant because being placed on an order is punishment in itself. I would submit that it’s relevant to take that period into account, and I’d ask Your Honour to consider a duration lower than the 12 to 18 months you’ve indicated,” he said.

An officer from Corrections found Ms Elliott would be suitable for a corrections order “with the conditions of mental health and supervision”, noting that she “has made steps towards bettering her life and stabilising her accommodation”.

Magistrate Radford declined making the order less than 12 months.

“It’s going to be 12 months. It’s purely therapeutic, and I understand the impact an order has on someone. There’s a significant public interest in terms of deterrence, to the community at large who might want to go about promising delivery and sale of products and they don’t turn up. I can’t tell you how many times I sit here and hear that on a weekly basis, it’s rife,” he said.

“She still had outstanding issues in relation to community work hours. The reason why we’re going down this path is to consolidate the gains she’s making.

“I want you to continue to engage, especially on the mental health aspect of this order. You’ll be requested by Corrections to regularly attend appointments with your GP and any mental health specialists they recommend,” Magistrate Radford told Ms Elliott.