Guilty plea to fraud but man believes he won't be deported
A MAN who pleaded guilty to fraud charges across the state will consider a career in the music industry if his basketball career doesn't work out after prison - and if he isn't deported.
Deng Guot, 19, of Koondoola, Western Australia has pleaded guilty to 15 fraud charges and to one charge of using a false name on an airline ticket.
Guot defrauded businesses all over Queensland since December 2016, including service stations, travel agents, airlines, car dealerships, electronics retailers and jewellers and, most recently, attempted to purchase travel cash cards at a Mackay travel agent before being arrested.
Police prosecutor Chelsea Pearson told Mackay Magistrates Court yesterday that Guot's offending was "protracted". "The defendant before the court has continued fraud, using stolen credit cards, which has been going on since December 2016 to present in numerous places in Queensland," she said.
Magistrate Damien Dwyer and Guot's barrister Matt Heelan, instructed by Barron & Allen Lawyers, said Guot's capacity to pay restitution for the crimes was moot.
Guot had spent 37 days behind bars in pre-sentence custody and had left his partner and five-month-old baby behind in Western Australia, the court was told.
"Mr Guot was born in Kenya, he has been in Australia since he was six years old ... with his family. The cause of that was essentially the second Sudanese civil war. His father was killed when he was a small child," Mr Heelan said.
"They were able to get here with protection from the Australian Government, they started off in Hobart, my client lived there until he was 15 ... he was not excelling at school but was excelling at basketball ... he represented (on the) Tasmanian team."
The court was told that Guot had a "promising career" ahead of him playing basketball, however, "fell in with the wrong crowd".
Guot also has a degenerative eye condition that may impact his career, if convictions do not, and if he is asked to return to Kenya.
Mr Heelan said Guot wished to pursue education at TAFE and a career in the music industry if he was unable to continue playing basketball.
Mr Dwyer asked if it was wishful thinking on Guot's part that he will not be deported for his offences.
"He assures me despite the term of imprisonment exceeding 12 months that he won't be deported but I certainly question that," Mr Heelan said.
Also brought into question was restitution, as Guot has no capacity to pay other than welfare benefits from the Australian Government.
"It seems to me to be pointless to make an order for restitution," Mr Dwyer said.
Mr Dwyer adjourned the case to August 30 to review cases before him and until further information for restitution, which currently stands at $6553.57, can be entered.