Site Logo

R v Stephens (No 2) [2022] ACTSC 335

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of intending to dishonestly cause a loss to a Commonwealth entity contrary to s 135.1(3) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 1 count of obtaining a financial advantage by deception contrary to s 134.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. An additional dishonesty offence was taken into account under s 16BA.

Nature and Circumstances: Count one involved offender causing the Department of Defence to pay for offender’s relocation in circumstances where they were not entitled to relocation assistance by falsifying the reason for the relocation. The cost of the relocation was $4,406.45. Offending involved flagrant dishonesty including the use of a fabricated notice to vacate. The amount of relocation assistance was relatively modest. It is in the low-to-mid-range of seriousness. The second count involved offender obtaining rent allowance to which they were not entitled by falsely declaring that they did not own a property within the posting locality. The total amount of rent allowance offender received to which they were not entitled was $91,705.54. Offending involved a lengthy course of dishonest conduct. It covered a period of 6 years and 8 months. It involved false assertions of a lease. It was motivated by greed, not need. It was unsophisticated; however that lack of sophistication does not significantly affect the assessment of objective seriousness because it also reflects the brazenness of offending. The immediate loss of damage to the Commonwealth has now been removed by the repayment of the amounts in question.

Mental Condition: Offender is currently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder, and major depressive disorder. The first 3 conditions pre-date offending. None of the conditions causally related to the offending. The conditions and the moderate functional impairments were not sufficient to prevent offender from having a successful career in the army and reaching the level of major. Offender’s conditions are not so significant that they would reduce the validity of the theory of general deterrence or indicate that using offender as a vehicle for that would amount to an injustice. However, it is appropriate to give some weight to offender’s mental health conditions. The conditions mean that imprisonment will weigh more heavily upon offender.

Offender sentenced to 16 months imprisonment with to be released on recognizance of $100 to be of good behaviour for 2 years, and an additional recognizance of $100 to be of good behaviour for 2 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.

© 2023 The National Judicial College of Australia (NJCA). Powered by

Privacy Policy|Terms and Conditions