Justin Alec Cook appeared in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Justin Alec Cook appeared in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Jail for Hervey Bay court regular who ran out of chances

A COURT regular who was all out of chances claimed he didn't want to go back to jail because drugs would be waiting.

Supported by his father and partner in court, Justin Alec Cook appeared in custody on Thursday to plead guilty to stealing and trespass offences he committed while on parole and subject to a separate suspended sentence.

Duty lawyer Hamish Isles, who represented the 35-year-old in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court, explained Cook was worried he would have access to illicit drugs in prison which he claimed was a factor in his previous offending.

"I accept the proposition that jails are not necessarily supposed to have access to those materials but it is common knowledge defendants are able to obtain those items in jail if they have a mind," Mr Isles said.

Police prosecutor Louese McConnell outlined how Cook was captured on security footage stealing a woman's handbag while sitting on the bench next to her outside Stockland shopping centre on May 29.

On April 13, the Scarness man was also caught on security tape entering Palace Backpackers in Torquay through a closed but unlocked window.

"He has entered the premises and proceeded to walk around attempting to open a number of doors, he remained inside the businesses for 15 minutes," Ms McConnell.

When questioned by police later, Cook said he did not remember committing the stealing offence and may have been affected by alcohol at the time.

He also said he entered the backpackers to find a place to sleep because he was cold.

When he was arrested, Cook was on parole for an 18-month prison sentence from October 2018 and a one-month suspended sentence imposed on April 11, 2019.

Magistrate Stephen Guttridge invoked Cook's one-month suspended sentence to be served cumulatively after the remainder of his 18-month jail time.

For the two fresh charges, Cook received three months' jail time to be served cumulatively with his other sentences and was given an immediate parole eligibility date.