A man charged with shoplifting shaved ham and over $100-worth of eye-cream - following a nervous encounter with police, when he attempted to retreat down a locked laneway - was sentenced in Mudgee Local Court on Wednesday.
James Brett Hill of Cox Street, Mudgee, was placed on a 12-month Community Corrections Order.
At about 6.50pm on Saturday, December 14, 2019, police were patrolling Mudgee's Byron Place when they noticed Hill standing near the Town Hall Arcade laneway.
As soon as he'd seen the officers he attempted to walk away - appearing to try and avoid them - down the laneway, but the opposite end was locked.
Police noted that Hill was nervous and was trying get away as they spoke with him. He was carrying a bag at the time and with his demeanour - he was physically shaking - they suspected that he might be in possession of prohibited drugs.
His bag was searched and it was found to contain three bottles of Olay eye-cream and 500g of deli shaved ham. Hill became argumentative and attempted to leave again, at which point he was arrested.
Police believed the items were stolen from Woolworths and they reviewed the store's CCTV footage, which depicted Hill using one of the registers. The receipt of the transaction was reprinted and the items of interest weren't listed.
The 52-year-old's legal-aid solicitor, Jessica Meech, said, "it's conceded that it's not the first time Mr Hill has appeared before court charged with shoplifting", and a prior offence in 2018 was noted.
Magistrate David Day said the defendant has "a varied history", although one without "sufficient shoplifting antecedence to warrant imprisonment - even for $105 of eye-cream". The court heard that the eye-cream had been returned.
Hill was still seated as Magistrate Day began to hand down his sentence. Prompting his honour to tell him, "stand up Mr Hill, you know what to do now, you've been to court enough times".
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