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DPP (Cth) v Landry [2021] VCC 903

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of dishonestly causing loss to a Commonwealth entity and 1 count of attempting to dishonestly cause loss to a Commonwealth entity contrary to the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: The offending was serious and significant. Offender fraudulently claimed an amount just shy of $500,000. Offending was inherently serious as it abused the NDIS scheme. Once registered as a provider, the NDIS was an honesty-based system. Claims were then generally accepted and processed in good faith without supporting documentation having to be produced nor further investigation taking place. Offender seized the opportunity to cheat the system and improve their financial situation over a period of over three months. Offender had the opportunity to desist, but instead chose to continue to exploit the scheme. Offending thereby involved a level of calculation and persistence. Offending was not overly sophisticated. Offender did not register with the intention of defrauding the system and did not attempt to conceal their identity.

Mental Condition: The offender’s moral culpability was moderately reduced by their autism spectrum disorder. Offender’s motivation of greed was somewhat coloured by the fact that the offending was committed by an isolated, impulsive, young person craving recognition, societal affirmation and belonging. Autism interacted with offender’s unstable background. Offender did not have the benefit of sustained support to manage their autism. Offender was, to some extent, less equipped in comparison to a person of normal mental health to resist the offending, desist from it or fully turn their mind to how society would view such conduct. While there was a realistic connection between the offender’s autism and offending, there was not an extensive relationship between the two. Adverse public opprobrium has weighed more heavily on offender than it may have on a person who does not suffer from autism.

Guilty Plea: Plea of guilty was worthy of greater weight in mitigation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Offender demonstrated an acceptance of responsibility for their conduct and a willingness to facilitate justice. Offender’s plea of guilty and voluntary restitution also demonstrated remorse.

Rehabilitation: Offender was a person of good character and had not reoffended since their apprehension for the current matters in question. Offender had also been serving a community correction order for subsequent offending and demonstrated a high level of compliance. Offender’s prospects are dependent upon impulsive and disinhibited behaviour towards money being controlled. Offender’s impulsiveness towards money is troubling for them and the community.

Offender sentenced to 3 years imprisonment, to be released after 16 months on a recognizance release order.
The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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