Brisbane Supreme District Court
Brisbane Supreme District Court Rae Wilson

Longer sentence for funeral director doing cheap cremations

POLICE have succeeded in increasing a Brisbane funeral director's jail sentence for shipping coffins to Rockhampton for cut-price cremations.

Anthony William James, from Elysian Field Funerals, benefited $30,426 by driving seven hours north, instead of having 59 cremations carried out in south-east Queensland as he had promised in contracts with families.

For 18 months between 2009 and 2001, he would place four coffins in a car, transport them 600km to Rockhampton and cremate them at $250 each.

Judge David Reid said, in a written judgment, that the Beenleigh sentencing magistrate had erred in handing down a one-year jail sentence, wholly suspended for two years.

He said the magistrate "ignored the gravamen" of James's conduct which was designed to secure a financial advantage.

Judge Reid said falsifying documents enabled him to continue the practice and avoid detection.

The judge said the sentence should have been two years and James should have served six months actual custody.

But he said it was evident James had undertaken great change within his business, through the Commissioner for Fair Trading, to ensure this would not happen again including a complaint handling procedure and a compliance program.

Judge Reid said those changes obviated the risk of him offending in the future, which meant he would discount the sentence by not requiring any actual custody.

The two-year sentence will stand for three years.

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