Jail inmate begs judge for release

A ROCKHAMPTON prisoner has made an impassioned plea to be released from his sentence early so he does not lose his house.

Kenneth John Turner appealed to a District Court judge last week, saying his wife was extremely ill and unless he could start earning money his house would be repossessed within weeks.

The 49-year-old was jailed for 12 months for disqualified driving.

He will be eligible for parole on February 26, but he said he could not afford to wait that long.

On Tuesday he filed for an appeal against his sentence citing that the magistrate was too harsh in view of his personal situation.

“There are people out there causing all sorts of drama and all I was doing was driving to work. There are guys I’m in jail with that got 12 months for beating people or smashing things,” Turner said, sobbing before the Rockhampton District Court.

“I accept I didn’t have a licence. It wouldn’t matter if it was just me to think about, it doesn’t worry me being in jail. But losing the house will be devastating for everyone. If I got out tomorrow I can work straight away.”

The court heard Turner’s lengthy sentence was based on his extensive traffic history, which included a conviction for dangerous driving and a few disqualified-driving charges.

Turner, a Brisbane truck driver, said the offence that got him jailed only happened because his wife, who usually drove him to work, was hospitalised and he needed to get to work.

“She has a disease where she bleeds all the time from stress,” he said.

“And my eldest daughter wrote her car off. Everything is falling apart.

“I need to get a job and at least save my house,” he said.

Judge Grant Britton said he didn’t think the magistrate was wrong in sending Turner to prison, but could have considered ordering a parole release date instead of a parole eligibility date.

He said he also wondered why the sentencing magistrate from Kingaroy ignored the usual “one-third rule of thumb”.

Judge Britton said usually if an offender pleaded guilty he/she was ordered to serve one third of the jail time – not half, as in this case.

Judge Britton has reserved his decision.

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