Crimes run to eight pages at Warwick court

HE'S just a few weeks into his job, but already Warwick's newest magistrate has expressed serious concerns at the number of repeat offenders appearing before him.

Magistrate Manthey voiced his concern yesterday during the sentencing of Ken Gordon Leggatt, a local man with a staggering eight pages of criminal history.

"I may have only been in town a few weeks but I'm really concerned by these repeat offenders," he said.

"The community needs to be protected from offenders such as Mr Leggatt."

Leggatt, 28, appeared in the Warwick Magistrates Court yesterday on a string of charges, including attempted fraud and possession of drug utensils, relating to a number of incidents in early April while he was on parole.

Police prosecutor Ken Wiggan said Leggatt attempted to buy cigarettes with a stolen credit card on April 8.

"The defendant was known to staff at the newsagent and attempted to buy cigarettes for $24.70," he said.

"He wasn't able to replicate the signature on the back of the card and left with the card in his possession."

When police spoke to Leggatt on April 22, they found him in possession of a drug utensil.

Sgt Wiggan said Leggatt had an extensive criminal history.

Defence solicitor Geoff Hobson told the court his client wanted to get out of the system and get his life back on track.

"My client has an extensive history with police - he's at the point in his life where, when he sees a policeman, he panics," he said.

"This the first charge of a similar nature of dishonesty of this type on his history - I don't believe it would necessitate a term in prison."

However Mr Manthey disagreed with Mr Hobson, telling Leggatt he believed a lengthy suspended sentence was appropriate.

"I've had the opportunity to read through his history - he's had every opportunity to clean up his act yet he keeps offending," he said.

Leggatt, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 12 months, which was suspended for two years.

Mr Manthey issued Leggatt with a stern warning about the sentence.

"You commit any offences in the next two years and you'll be back - you don't want to go back, do you?" he said.

"There are only two (kinds of) people in jail, those who want to be there and those who don't - you think twice about it."

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