Woman wins jail sentence appeal
A MUM of four convicted after stealing prime meat cuts from supermarkets to sell on the street to support her violent boyfriend’s drug habit has won an appeal against the severity of her sentence in the Lismore District Court.
Meaghan Jayne Dennis, 33, of Tweed Heads, was previously jailed for six months after pleading guilty to five shoplifting charges involving $700 worth of meat cuts, and alcohol valued at $180, from shops at Tweed Heads and Banora Point.
CCTV footage captured Dennis stashing beef, lamb steaks and bottles of spirits into a big bright pink handbag that police facts stated had a false bottom.
The meat was also shoved into her green environmentally-friendly shopping bags that she carried out of the supermarkets without paying.
The offences took place during June and July at Liquor Barn in South Tweed Heads, Bi-Lo at Banora Point and Woolworths at Tweed Centro, with Dennis telling police she sold the meat packs for half price to ‘random people in the street’.
Dennis, cross examined by defence lawyer Ben Cochrane, said she sold the meat ‘to support my drug habit and my partner’s’.
She said they were both taking the painkiller drug OxyContin, which they could buy on the street.
Dennis said her former partner was a violent man who would punch her, so she did what he wanted.
“I would do what he asked. Shoplift, steal, get money for his drugaddiction,” she said.
“I’ve used Ice and amphetamines over the years and heroin before. I no longer have a habit. I’m on the (regulated) methadone program so I don’t have to steal to get drugs,” Dennis.
Acting Judge Neil McLauchlanallowed Dennis’ appeal and took into account all matters put before the court, saying she was entitled to some leniency and that the previous lower court penalty was longer than warranted.
He reduced her jail term to four months.