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DPP v Blackborrow [2021] VCC 207

The offender was sentenced after pleading guilty to 1 count of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception from a Commonwealth entity contrary to s 134.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 1 count of producing a false or misleading document in purported compliance with a law of the Commonwealth contrary to s 137.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.  

Nature and Circumstances: Offender was in receipt of Newstart Allowance and made 170 false under-declarations in relation to employment income. Offender only declared portion of total fortnightly income rather than whole income. Offender obtained $85,014.73 in payments of Newstart Allowance. Offender was required to enter into a job plan recording the activities that were agreed between offender and either employment services provider or the Department. Offender was entitled to obtain temporary exemption from requirements of job plan on medical grounds. Offender was not trying to accumulate wealth but merely trying to support themselves in the face of their gambling losses. Offender was a person in skilled employment earning a reasonable income. Offender had no dependents and did not offend to provide for others in need. Offender did not voluntarily desist from offending.  

Guilty Plea: Offender pleaded guilty early, which has a heightened utilitarian value. The COVID-19 pandemic may be abating as a public health crisis, but its effects on the administration of criminal justice remain with considerable delay occurring in running jury trials, which is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.  

Remorse: Offender has made some attempts at repaying the money, albeit only $3,653.83, however offender is person of very limited resources and notwithstanding the modest amount offender has managed to repay, it is demonstrative of remorse.  

Offender sentenced to 24 months imprisonment, to be released on a recognisance release order after 8 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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