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DPP (Cth) v Wallis [2020] VCC 1695

sentence — dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception from Commonwealth entity offence contrary to s 134.2(1) of Commonwealth Criminal Code nature and circumstances — s 16A(2)(a) — offender lodged form purported to be signed by Hogg who received Age Pension — offender nominated themselves as payment nominee — between 5 October 2010 and 9 July 2018 offender received Hogg’s Age Pension without any entitlement — offender dishonestly obtained $174,618.90 from Department of Human Services — offending took effort and cunning to establish — offender needed to lie to Department repeatedly to continue payment — social security frauds provide heavy burden for taxpayers — undermines integrity of social security system and can demonise needy in society — mental condition — s 16A(2)(m) — offender has long complex mental health history interlinked with drug abuse which started at early age — sentencing judge took disadvantage and turbulence of youth and adolescence into account in mitigation of sentence — money derived from offending was used to perpetuate drug addiction and sustain modest lifestyle — offender has been sexually abused by drug dealer in excess of 20 occasions — psychologist opinion is that mental health would deteriorate if offender was incarcerated as it would inevitably trigger past trauma — family and dependents — s 16A(2)(p) — offender is very concerned about daughter’s ability to cope and thrive in absence — given connection to and intermittent residence with offender’s mother sentencing judge unable to find that this is a case where hardship to daughter is mitigating circumstance — inability to provide support and care will weigh heavily on offender’s own mind — offender sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment to be released on recognisance release order after 6 months
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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