Crim doesn't have to pay one cent for $100,000 crime spree

Bev Lacey

DURING a four-month crime spree of burglaries and vehicle theft, Jason Allan Martin racked up a damage bill of more than $100,000.

However, after spending 10 months in custody the 32-year-old walked free from jail without having to pay one cent of compensation.

Martin appeared by prison video link to plead guilty before Toowoomba Magistrates Court to a total 38 offences including multiple burglaries across Toowoomba during which he stole property and keys to cars in which he drove away.

One of the vehicles was valued at $80,000 and another $14,000, the court heard.

When on occasion spotted by police, Martin would ignore police directions to stop and drive up footpaths, through red traffic lights, drive onto the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic and speed away in attempts to avoid capture, police prosecutor Christie Mahoney told the court.

In the early hours of October 9, last year, he had cheekily driven a stolen car south on Hume St and stopped do a "burnout" in front of the Toowoomba Police Station before speeding away.

On another occasion he had brazenly walked into a couple's Stenner St unit, asked if the keys he grabbed were for the car outside and drove off in it.

When that car ran out of fuel, Martin had come across a car for sale parked outside a South Toowoomba residence.

After talking the owner's father into a test drive, he had stolen that car while the man was on the phone discussing the price with his son, Senior Constable Mahoney said.

Eventually caught by police on October 13, Martin had struggled with officers leaving one policeman with a number of injuries, the court heard.

Martin, who had a lengthy criminal history, pleaded guilty to 38 offences including multiple charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, unlawful use of motor vehicles, burglary, failing to stop on police direction and disqualified driving.

His lawyer Kevin Rose said his client was not a drug user or an abuser of alcohol.

His client put down his offending to "going off the rails" after breaking up with the mother of his three children, he said.

Martin was a talented Aboriginal artist who intended pursuing that course upon his release from jail, Mr Rose told the court.

Magistrate Bruce Schemioneck sentenced Martin to 33 months in jail but, declaring 290 days of pre-sentence custody, ordered he be released on parole immediately.

Because he had received a hefty term of imprisonment, Mr Schemioneck said he would not make an order for the $102,000 restitution sought by police.

Martin was disqualified from driving for five years.

Topics:  court crime spree restitution toowoomba

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