Pub manager gambles with liberty

LON SEDGMAN stole more than $17,000 from the Shaws Bay Hotel in Ballina and blew it on a night of gambling at Jupiter's Casino on the Gold Coast.

Next day the shame-faced hotel manager walked into Ballina police station and confessed to what he had done.

Sedgman, 27, then a resident of East Ballina and now living in Alstonville, pleaded guilty to stealing the cash when employed as a clerk on February 4 last year, and was sentenced by a magistrate to nine months' jail and ordered to pay compensation of $17,770.

The sentence was immediately suspended by the magistrate, who placed Sedgman on a good behaviour bond and told him not to re-offend or he would be called back before the court.

Last week, Sedgman was back before the Lismore Local Court charged with separate offences of mid-range drink-driving with a blood/alcohol level of 0.130 at Tweed Heads on October 5 last year; driving at Byron Bay on March 18 when his licence was suspended; and driving unlicensed near Byron Bay on March 25.

The new traffic offences meant Sedgman's previous stealing offence was also back in court because the breach of his bond had to be considered by Magistrate Robyn Denes.

Police documents before the court stated Sedgman stole the $17,770 in cash from the hotel tills before driving to the Gold Coast the same night to gamble.

At the time of his arrest he admitted to Ballina police officers he had a gambling problem.

At 1.45am on October 5 last year Sedgman was caught driving in Tweed Heads with a blood/alcohol reading of 0.130. Police immediately suspended his licence with the offence to go to court.

However the hapless Sedgman was caught on March 18 driving a blue Mitsubishi Lancer at Byron Bay and charged with driving when his licence was suspended.

Just days later, on March 25, Sedgman was seen by an off-duty police officer who recognised him driving on the Pacific Highway at St Helena. Police then charged him with driving while unlicensed.

He told police he needed to drive because he was working two jobs.

Sedgman pleaded guilty to all the traffic matters in the Lismore Local Court last week.

On the drink-driving offence Ms Denes convicted him and disqualified him from driving for six months.

For driving while suspended on March 18, he was convicted and disqualified from driving for two years and placed on a good behaviour bond.

For driving unlicensed on March 25, Sedgman was disqualified from driving for another two years until April 2014.

For the breach of his suspended jail sentence/bond for the stealing offence, Ms Denes imposed the nine-month jail sentence and ordered he serve a non-parole period of one day in jail. He has now been released.

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