Ferris has sentence slashed

FORMER Cronulla and Manly halfback Jason Ferris yesterday had his prison term slashed, almost by half, in Wagga District Court after he successfully appealed the severity of the sentence handed to him in June for a variety of offences.Ferris will now be eligible for parole on January 6 next year after Justice Jennifer English ruled the initial sentence, handed down in Gundagai Local Court on June 7 this year, was excessive.At that time Ferris was sentenced to 18 months prison with a non-parole period of 13 months for three driving offences -mid range drink drive and two disqualified drives -with each offence breaching a section 12 bond, as well as obtaining money by deception and obtaining money by making a false statement.Both obtaining money offences took place at the Criterion Hotel in Gundagai last October, after Ferris was lured to the town to captain-coach the Gundagai Tigers.During his stint at Gundagai, Ferris spent one month working at the Criterion and during this period he stole $7500 to feed his gambling addiction.While giving evidence in court yesterday, Ferris described the thefts as "rock bottom" and said that his crimes, along with the two months he has so far spent in prison, as a catalyst for change in his life."It's made me see that I not only want to, but I need to change and to cut out my gambling and drinking," Ferris told the court."To see what it's done to my wife and three kids -I have to live with for the rest of my life."It's disappointing that it's taken something like this to change my priorities."In re-sentencing Ferris, Judge English told the court the initial sentence imposed upon him was excessive, pointing to an entitlement of 25 per cent discounts for guilty pleas and an imbalance between the fixed prison term and non-parole period as reasons."He didn't have the life skills to cope with fame and fortune," Judge English said."After such a dramatic fall from grace, it's in the community's best interest to encourage him to rehabilitate."

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