Postie steals mail and cash
A FORMER Australia Post postie pleaded guilty to stealing mail, including two birthday cards containing cash, Warwick Magistrates Court heard yesterday.
Michelle Mary Elizabeth Males of Allora was sentenced to 12 months probation for being caught “red handed” following an Australia Post investigation into missing mail in the area.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Ken Wiggan told the court that on April 12 this year Australia Post received a number of complaints of mail not being delivered and sent 11 test articles on post rounds.
Two of the items, on post rounds contracted to Males, were birthday cards containing $20 each.
The serial numbers of the notes were recorded and when one was used at Freedom Fuel service station in Allora, police attended and 40-year-old Males was identified as the customer who passed over the cash.
After further investigation, the birthday cards were found in the glove box of Males' car and the other $20 note was located in her purse. Another test item was discovered, unopened, in the car.
At yesterday's court hearing, Males originally asked for her case to put back to July 27, but her solicitor later advised this was because a group of Allora residents attended the court yesterday to hear the case. Once the group had left, the case proceeded.
Her defence said Males had since lost her contract with Australia Post and, following the offence, she was admitted to hospital due to mental health issues she has since struggled with.
He added Males was very concerned about the impact the court appearance would have in the Allora community, from which she had already become ostracised.
“She is incredibly sorry for what she's done,” he said.
“She wants to assure the court she is making every effort to get back on her feet again and she's embarrassed about what she's done.”
In delivering the sentence Magistrate Anne Thacker warned the probation would be a tough 12 months for the defendant, who will have to stick to all reasonable requests of her probation officer, including assessment and treatment of her mental health.
She said it was an “alarming set of circumstances for the people of Allora”.
Magistrate Thacker continued: “You were caught red handed on the basis of suspicions and a trap was set for you that you fell straight into.
“The mail is very important. If the community can't rely on Australia Post, communications are very restricted.
“I have to take into account in terms of setting a deterrent sentence but the court isn't completely unfeeling. You have a problem, whether that arose first or after the event, your mental health is at jeopardy and you must work to fix the problem.
“This offence is punishable by imprisonment but you have no history so I won't consider that.”