Shoplifter tutors magistrate on fish care

A Brisbane woman gave magistrate John Quinlan a lesson in keeping fish when she appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court last week charged with stealing pet supplies.

Prosecutor Sergeant Fiona Pedersen said Sarah Ann Isaac entered a pet supply store on 11 November, 2008 and left without paying for items she placed in her handbag.

Petfood Direct of North Ipswich was seeking restitution of $31.70, the value of the stolen items which included gravel, a heater and fish food.

The unemployed woman pleaded guilty to the charge and related the habits of her bottom-dwelling fish when questioned by the magistrate.

“Well, you learn something every day. [It is] certainly a pampered fish,” the magistrate said.

Her counsel told the court the 30-year-old single woman had struggled and rarely worked. She had a previous history which included 165 days in prison regarding like offences in 2007.

Isaac is under treatment for mental health disorders and became obsessive about the need to have items she saw advertised, her counsel said.

Mr Quinlan said he took into account the defendant’s guilty plea and the large gap of time between the offence and the charge being brought.
He recorded a conviction against Isaac, fined her $150 and ordered her to pay $31.70 to the pet supply shop as compensation for the stolen goods.

The magistrate asked Isaac, “Have you still got your fish?” to which Ms Isaac replied, “No, your honour,” before she left the court.

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