$300 fine on stolen car wheel

IT was not such a magical ride for one Ballina man and his mates caught with a stolen car wheel in the boot of his Ford, and a wee bit of magic mushroom beneath his car seat, while the group were on a tour of theindustrial estate back-blocks.

Matthew Lawler, 21, pleaded guilty in Ballina Local Court last week to having goods in personal custody suspected of being stolen at 12.30am on February 2.

Lawler also pleaded guilty to possession of two prohibited drugs – 1.3 gram of cannabis leaf, and 2.2 grams of psilocybin (magic mushroom) found under the car seat.

Magistrate Jeff Linden fined him $300 for having the tyre and steel rim that was unlawfully obtained. Lawler was given a 12-month good behaviour bond on the two drug matters without conviction.

Defence lawyer Rachael Thomas said Lawler was driving friends around when a group of kids threw a rock so he stopped.

She said passengers knew the kids and that was when a car wheel was put in the car despite suspecting it to be stolen.

In police facts before the court an alert security guard on patrol in Ballina’s industrial estate followed Lawler’s white Ford Falcon just after midnight.

When it stopped at the reserve underneath the Canal Bridge all three male occupants got out and ran off.

Fearing the car was stolen the guard phoned police but when officers arrived at the scene the three males were back at the car. Lawler stated he was the Ford’s owner and driver.

When asked why they ran from the security guard, Lawler replied he had not known it was a security guard as ‘we were chasing a bunch of kids who threw a rock at my windscreen’.

His car was searched and the small quantities of the two drugs (cannabis and magic mushroom) were found.

Lawler claimed he found them the day before at Byron Bay.

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