Thief allowed to walk free

NOW a changed man, copper thief Aaron Hall is also a free man following his conviction and release from custody after pleading guilty in Lismore Local Court to the theft of 160kg ofcopper wire from Country Energy.

At the time, market prices were high for the metal.

Hall, 25, of Lismore, was extradited from Queensland last month to face old charges from 2006 and 2007 after serving an 18-month jail sentence north of the border for unrelated crimes.

He pleaded guilty to stealing the wire, worth thousands of dollars, from Country Energy depots in Lismore and Casino.

One offence involved stealing 60 metres of extreme high voltage copper wire valued at $2000. Hall also tried to sell the stolen copper wire to a scrap metal dealer.

Hall was first arrested by police just after midnight on December 30, 2006, while attempting to steal 50kg rolls of copper wire at a Casino depot.

While on bail Hall fled the Northern Rivers and moved to Gympie, failing to appear in the Lismore Local Court on the charges.

Magistrate Robyn Denes told Hall the court could not give him any credit for time served in Queensland’s Wacol Prison as this would give him ‘credit’ for leaving the Lismore jurisdiction.

“Had he turned up at court when he was supposed to it would not haveautomatically meant a jail sentence,” Ms Denes told Hall and his defence lawyer, Tom Trembath.

“He left the State, that’s his problem. He knows how the system works,” replied Mr Trembath.

Mr Trembath argued his client had been addicted to the drug ice at the time and was hanging around with the wrong crowd.

Mr Trembath said there were a significant number of documents about the many programs Hall completed in Wacol Prison and his rehabilitation from drugs was now ‘self-evident’.

He pleaded for a suspended jailsentence on the offences with a longer period of supervised parole.

Ms Denes acknowledged Mr Trembath’s legal argument that Hall was ‘not the same person’ who committed the offences over three years ago and had since grown up.

Offences of trespass, stealing a motor bike, having goods in custody suspected of being stolen, affray, and failing to appear at court were all taken into account by the magistrate who sentenced Hall to a seven-month suspended sentence and a good behaviour bond of 12 months.

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