Addict threatened to fight manager over begging incident

DAVID Ryan Graham has an addiction problem.

Yesterday, it saw him face Rockhampton Magistrates Court after an alcohol-fuelled incident at the Leichhardt Hotel.

Graham pleaded guilty to one count each of begging and failing to leave licensed premises and two counts of disorderly conduct.

The court heard Graham went to the Leichhardt Hotel on March 8 at 5.30pm, where he started begging for money and cigarettes from people inside the dining room and in the outdoor eating area.

He was asked to leave, but returned again at 6.30pm and continued begging.

Police prosecutor Clancy Fox said Graham became aggressive, demanding to fight the manager when he was asked to leave again.

He said Graham continued to advance on the manager when he refused to fight and other people in the lobby had to move away.

The court was told Graham left and returned a third time at 7.30pm when he started picking food up off the plates of diners.

Mr Fox said Graham had a criminal history 14 pages long, a SPER debt of $15,984 and had also received a suspended sentence for begging earlier this year.

He said Graham was taking part in a Managing Public Intoxication Program with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Resource Agency.

Mr Fox said Graham had started teaching music lessons and staff at the program had noticed an improvement in behaviour.

Defence solicitor Shayne Studdert said Graham's history suggested he had a "long-term addiction issue".

Magistrate Michael O'Driscoll said imprisonment was the only appropriate punishment considering Graham's accumulated SPER debt.

Graham was convicted and sentenced to eight months imprisonment, but placed on parole immediately.



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