A Wagga magistrate has urged a man to use this chance to set himself on the right path after he was ordered to repay a victim thousands of dollars.
The comments were made to Aaron John Little, 36, who appeared at Wagga Local Court for sentencing after he pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property worth more than $5000.
On February 13, a Wagga man fell victim to a robbery and Little came into possession of the stolen jewellery worth thousands, including a men's bracelet worth about $7499.
Just a day later, the victim, who knew Little through a mutual acquaintance, spotted a picture of Little wearing the stolen rings and bracelet on social media. Police arrested him days later.
Little's solicitor told the court this was "relatively out of character" for him, and despite the property's value, it was not a serious example of this type of charge.
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"There is COVID in jail which makes time in custody more onerous," he said. "He has another child on the way, and he wishes to be present for that birth."
Magistrate Christopher Halburd said Little was entitled to the full discount for his early plea, adding while his criminal record did not entitle him to leniency, this was "only the second matter of dishonesty".
He said it needed to be noted that while he would be compensating the victim $9000, he is not being sentenced for stealing those items.
"He was on parole at the time, which aggravates the sentencing exercise," Magistrate Halburd said.
"The crown submits I wouldn't find good prospects for rehabilitation. While the prospects might be guarded ... he doesn't have a history for this sort of thing."
Magistrate Halburd said Little's partner had written a letter to the court setting out a "sophisticated plan" to ensure he does not re-offend so he can be present for the birth of their child.
He also said the courts need to keep in mind that COVID-19 has been detected in some prisons.
"The ball is in your court, sir," Magistrate Halburd said to Little.
"There is now COVID-19 in jails, and that changes the dynamic. This is your chance. That is a pretty lenient sentence ... this is a real chance to rehabilitate yourself."
Little was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of seven months which was backdated to commence on February 20, 2021. He will be eligible for release from September 19.