Man escapes conviction for repeated CFA prank calls

A Dunolly man has escaped conviction in Maryborough Magistrates’ Court after making multiple fake emergency calls to the CFA.

Pleading guilty to the charges, the accused made three fake calls to emergency services between January 27, 2017 and February 9, 2017, where he claimed there were grassfires burning in the Dunolly area. The call outs came to a cost of $4488.

The accused’s defence lawyer described the cost as a “significant drain on the community”.

The lawyer told the court that the accused had been involved in a local CFA brigade for over 10 years and suffered from mental difficulties.

“He has had no previous history with police,” the lawyer said.

“He is in a position to pay the restitution but it will take some time,” he said.

The lawyer urged magistrate Sarah Leighfield to place the defendant on a work-only community corrections order, saying his client “needs to give back to the community”.

The court also heard that CFA resources were drawn away from a potentially real fire incident.

“It should be really clear that CFA resources are used in the right way as it costs a lot of money,” Ms Leighfield said.

“It’s very fortunate when you called them away it didn’t end anyone else’s life,” she told the accused.

For more on this story see Page 3 of The Advertiser, Tuesday, February 13.

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