Australia Bushfire looters to spend six months behind bars as a 'reminder of your despicable acts', judge says

10:50  03 february  2020
10:50  03 february  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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a woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Kylie Pobjie's solicitor told the court she had called police to confess to her part in the crime. (Facebook)© Provided by ABC NEWS Kylie Pobjie's solicitor told the court she had called police to confess to her part in the crime. (Facebook)

A man and woman who stole from a bushfire-affected store to pay for drugs have been sentenced to at least six months behind bars.

Plumber Leon Elton, 38, and part-time cleaner Kylie Pobjie, 31, were today convicted of looting following devastating bushfires on New Year's Eve.

The pair were sentenced to 18 months in jail with a non-parole period of six months.

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The court heard the pair travelled from Narooma to Batemans Bay on January 8 to buy drugs, but instead broke into the Betta Electrical store twice and stole thousands of dollars' worth of electrical goods.

Both confessed their crimes to police within 24 hours of the offences occurring.

Bushfire looters© ABC Bushfire looters

The court heard the pair both had long histories of drug abuse and mental health issues.

During sentencing, Magistrate Doug Dick said that emotions were running very high in the community because of the bushfires and people expected the court to respond accordingly.

"You're going to feel the wrath from the community," Magistrate Dick told Elton.

"As the bushfires go on, so does the reminder of your despicable acts."

He stressed that the business was particularly vulnerable at that time due to the impact of the bushfires.

"I have to be careful not to sentence you on emotion," he told Elton.

At the time of their arrest, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller lashed out at people taking advantage of homes and businesses damaged in the bushfires, saying "these looters are absolute grubs".

A third person arrested in relation to the matter, 26-year-old Jeremy Holman, has pleaded not guilty and remains remanded in custody.

He is due back in court on February 10.

'Shame on you': Govt slams Labor for 'politicising' bushfire crisis .
A Question from Senator Murray Watt has ended with Linda Reynolds declaring the opposition should be "ashamed of itself" for politicising the bushfire crisis. The Queensland Labor senator had been asking the defence minister why the government ignored advice from former fire commissioners and National Aerial Firefighting Centre on boosting Australia’s aerial firefighting fleet. Senator Reynolds rejected the premise of the question and told Mr Watt the question was “beneath” him.

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