Suspect set for $30,000 windfall
IT IS not every day that a defendant will walk out of court richer than when he walked in.
Yesterday, Peter John Richards encountered this happy fate, as he entered Hervey Bay Magistrates Court charged with possessing suspected tainted property and left a short time later, potentially $30,000 better off.
Mr Richards pleaded not guilty to the charge, and soon found himself a free man when none of the prosecution witnesses turned up to testify against him.
Magistrate Tom Killeen said the case alleged that Mr Richards was found to be in possession of "a substantial sum of money" in his car, which was alleged to have been the suspected tainted property.
It is believed the "substantial sum" was in the vicinity of $30,000.
Mr Killeen noted the hearing had already been adjourned once and was not prepared to let the case drag on any longer in the hope that the witnesses could be found.
Mr Killeen dismissed the charge immediately and told Mr Richards he could make an application to have the money returned to him.
Police Prosecutor Senior Constable Jeanette Grigoris seemed exasperated in court as she was left high and dry by her absent witnesses.
Mr Richards also pleaded guilty to three drugs charges yesterday and received a $900 fine but did not have a conviction recorded.
He told the court he was in the process of turning his life around having been recently married and moving away from the Fraser Coast.