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DPP v Black [2022] VCC 51

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception from a Commonwealth entity contrary to s 134.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 1 count of dishonestly causing loss to a Commonwealth entity contrary to s 135.1(5) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Contrition: Offender has made regular repayments since the detection of their offending. Repayments total over $11,000 and demonstrate remorse for the offending.

Nature and Circumstances: Dishonestly obtaining financial advantage charge (Charge 1) is serious. Offender consciously and deliberately took steps to deceive the Department into reinstating payments at a time when they knew they were not entitled to such payments and for a very long period of time. Offending was deliberate and dishonest. Dishonestly causing loss charge (Charge 2) is less serious as it is constituted by omitting to inform the Department of the offender’s circumstances. Offending was over a much shorter period of time and involved the offender receiving far less money by dishonest means.

Mental Condition: Offender has been diagnosed with Complex Developmental Trauma, which has given rise to symptoms of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Offender’s mental health issues may in part explain the offender’s inability to regulate their lifestyle and control their overspending but offending on Charge 1 was largely motivated by greed. Offender’s moral culpability is not particularly reduced. Psychological reports provide insight and some explanation for offending on Charge 2. Offender’s sentence is modestly reduced by the overall burden their mental health issues will place on them compared to the general prison population.

Offender sentenced to 27 months imprisonment, to be released after 9 months on recognisance with a good behaviour bond of 3 years.
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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