RECAP: South Burnett’s biggest crime stories in July
DRUG trafficking, fake gunmen, churches robbed: many tragic, infuriating, and oftentimes terrifying stories have revealed themselves within the walls of South Burnett courthouses throughout July.
Here is a recap of the biggest crime stories to hit the South Burnett region in July.
A full brief of evidence was ordered at the first mention of a South Burnett rape case.
An 18-year-old South Burnett man faced Murgon Magistrates Court on July 21 on seven charges, including two counts of domestic violence rape, possessing and making child exploitation material, sexual assaults contact of genitalia/anus with mouth, observations or recordings in breach of privacy, and breach of bail.
Due to the complexity of the case, police prosecutor sergeant Barry Stevens asked for it to be adjourned to allow for the prosecution to gather evidence.
The case was adjourned to be mentioned in Murgon Magistrates Court on October 13.
The defendant appeared in court for the mention, and was allowed to walk out of the court, free on bail.
We entered July with police operation Knuckle, resulting in a Kingaroy man accumulating an enormous 91 drug-related charges, including trafficking meth, receiving proceeds from drug trafficking, possessing property used in the commission of a drug offence, and a further 88 counts of supplying a dangerous drug.
Facing Kingaroy Magistrates Court, William Michael Knudson, 24, received bail and a committal mention has been scheduled for September 8 at Kingaroy Magistrates Court.
Two new deadly and highly addictive drugs were beginning found on South Burnett drug users, which caused major concern for Kingaroy police.
Kingaroy police senior sergeant David Tierney said both drugs - fentanyl and fantasy - are highly addictive and often deadly.
“Fentanyl is beginning to pop up around the region, we have seen a few cases of fantasy and we are seeing a lot of illegal prescription drugs,” Snr Sgt Tierney said.
“Fantasy is a highly toxic synthetic drug that is found in a clear liquid and is a strong hallucinogenic.
“Fentanyl is very concerning because if you don’t know what you’re doing, it could kill you very quickly.”
A Nanango man faced court in early July, charged with physically assaulting his pregnant spouse, who is carrying a baby with a known heart condition.
In accessing his ‘character’ and criminal history, and previous breach of a probation order, Magistrate Sinclair determined that the defendant was ‘unlikely to obey any orders of any authorities’, and refused him bail.
The case has been adjourned for mention on August 31 at Kingaroy Magistrates Court.
An afternoon of terror ended in one man’s arrest after he was allegedly waving a fake gun in a public park.
Kingaroy police were called to Memorial Park this month when a triple-zero call was made about an alleged gunman.
Police arrived to find the 40-year-old man allegedly waving the fake gun around Williams St.
It was later confirmed to be a gel blaster hand gun.
The man has since been formally changed with going armed as to cause fear.
He will face Kingaroy Magistrates Court on August 3.
A Nanango man was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to a number of charges at the Kingaroy Magistrates court.
Barry Michael Parkes, 49, pleaded guilty to a break and enter charge, driving on a disqualified license charge, a drug possession and drug property charge, possession of a weapon and explosives charge as well as a breach of bail.
“A church is a place of worship and a number of people donate money for equipment like guitars and laptops, which you stole from the property,” Magistrate Sinclair said.
“By sentencing you to 12 months prison you now have an opportunity to get off the drugs and get your life back on track.”
A Wattle Camp man began growing his own weed to “self-medicate” with, as he did not want to associate with drug dealers.
Police discovered eight large cannabis plants in the home of Andrew Michael Cope, 61, during a search warrant which lead to the elderly man facing court on drug charges.
Cope pleaded guilty to four drug-related charges and one possessing tainted property, namely a stolen street sign., and was fined a total of $500, referred to SPER.
An 18-year-old man escaped prison following an ‘extremely dangerous attack’ on his cousin, who he is intimately involved with.
The lenient sentence was attributed to the defendants “extreme youth”.
“If you weren’t 18, if you hadn’t pleaded guilty when you had, if you had any previous convictions, or if any serious injury had resulted from this, you would be going to prison,” Magistrate Andrew Sinclair said.
An additional charge of stealing has been adjourned to September 1.
A joy ride didn’t go to plan for a Kingaroy man who was caught by police riding around town on a stolen push bike while carrying drugs
Benjamin David Stolzenberg received a suspended sentence of one month imprisonment for each of the five charges he pleaded guilty to in Kingaroy Magistrates court on July 6.
While on probation, the 35-year-old was charged with two counts of the unlawful possession of a dangerous drug, one count of possessing stolen property, one count of obstructing police from duties and one count of possessing drug related utensils.
A South Burnett farmer was charged with sexual assault, possessing dangerous drugs, authority required to possess explosives, and secure storage of weapons as a registered owner.
Police allege the man sexually assaulted backpackers at his home.
Six witnesses, including two overseas nationals, are set to appear by video link for an upcoming South Burnett sexual assault case.
Magistrate Andrew Sinclair told the court the next mention for a committal would be for October 30, with the man’s bail enlarged.
A letter to the court from the victim saved a man from a harsher sentence, after he threatened his family with an axe.
The defendant was released on probation for a 12 month period, under the condition that he commit no further offences, take part in counselling and other programs, and have a blood alcohol reading of ‘under 0.5 within the presence of the person aggrieved or know persons’.
The lesser sentence was partly due to a letter written to the court by the aggrieved, asking the magistrate to consider giving the defendant a chance to rehabilitate his mental health.
A man was hospitalised after he was allegedly king hit on Haly Street.
It was alleged a man approached the victim, punched him in the face, causing him to fall back on to the ground, hitting his head on the road.
The man allegedly continued assaulting the victim while he was on the ground before a witness stepped in and pulled him off.
The man then allegedly assaulted the witness before fleeing on foot up Haly Street.
An alleged drug trafficking grandmother, who is wheelchair bound on bail had her case mentioned in Murgon Magistrates Court.
Sandra May Castle was arrested earlier this year through Operation Butza, a special drug investigation run by Murgon police, which aimed to target and shut down the trafficking and supply of dangerous drugs within the South Burnett region.
Authorities allege Ms Castle supplied drugs worth more than $83,700 during a six-month period, and is facing more than 60 drug related charges, including trafficking, supplying, and possessing dangerous drugs.
The matter was adjourned until August 25.
A man was sentenced to six month imprisonment after forcing an engagement ring onto his ex-partners finger and yelling at her, saying he wanted her “know what it feels like to be in jail”.
The defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty before Kingaroy Magistrates Court yesterday (July 20) to one charge of contravene a domestic violence order.
Magistrate Andrew Sinclair said he had “no choice” but to give the defendant a “head sentence” (the maximum sentence to be served) of six months.
Despite this, the defendant’s a parole release date was set for the same day, July 20, meaning he walked free from court.
A young navy hopeful was given a second chance after drunkenly breaking into a home and smashing several windows.
Court documents showed Malakai Cummings, 18, and the other assailants had attempted to enter into the residence while the victim was not home, breaking several fly wire screens and windows in the process.
Mr Sinclair told Cummings there are limited job prospects for young offenders who have convictions recorded against them.
“The starting point is two years imprisonment, but your age is the only reason you’re not going to prison today.”
A Hervey Bay woman, who narrowly missed pinning an officer against a wall with a stolen car, was released from custody after spending 82 days in jail.
Luana Frescon entered a plea guilty to a total of seven charges, including stealing a hire car, obstructing police, possession of a dangerous drug and drug utensils, breach of bail, and dangerous driving while adversely effected by an intoxicating substance.
She was sentence to nine months imprisonment, with her parole release date set for the same day, and disqualified from holding or obtaining a drivers license for a period of 12 months.
For stealing fuel from a Caltex at Apple Tree Creek, she has been ordered to pay compensation of $31 to the company via SPER.
Officers from Murgon and Cherbourg responded to a variety of incidents between July 10 and July 17 within the Murgon and Cherbourg police divisions.
A Kingaroy woman was granted probation after spending 317 days in custody.
Kristy Maree Marshall was arrested in March 2019, after she was caught driving under the influence of methylamphetamine.
The state Forensic Medical Officer said the ‘extremely high’ reading is one of the highest recorded in a decade.
A South Burnett man serving a three year jail term in Maryborough Correctional Centre called his victim 26 times over the span of a month, breaching his domestic violence order (DVO).
The 29-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faced Murgon Magistrates Court via video link on July 21, charged with 12 breaches of a domestic violence order.
The man pleaded guilty, with Mr Sinclair sentencing him to 3 months imprisonment for each charge, to be served concurrently on top of his previous three year and nine month sentence.
Mr Sinclair set his parole date for July 21, saying it would be up to the parole board to take his offences into account when making their decision about his release.
A 14-year-old Murgon boy was arrested after allegedly setting fire to a public rest room in Murgon.
The boy allegedly lit a fire in the male rest rooms on Lamb Street.
Police arrived on scene, detecting the smell of smoke before locating the fire on the floor in the rest room.
The boy was dealt with according to the provisions of the Youth Justice Act 1992.