A FORMER police officer found himself on the wrong side of the law yesterday as he faced Orange Local Court charged with stealing his former partner’s car and $2500 in cash from her jewellery box.
At the hearing into charges against John Andrew Hegs several police officers who arrested Hegs on April 1 gave evidence, including one who said he drew his service revolver on the accused as he was being arrested because of his recent history of ‘hatred for and willingness to assault’ police.
Magistrate Terry Lucas dismissed the charge that Hegs had taken the vehicle of his former partner Donna Ind on the property where he carried out fencing and other maintenance work saying he was not reasonably convinced the accused who used the vehicle on a regular basis on the property, took the vehicle without her consent.
However on the charge of stealing $2500 from a jewellery box, Hegs was convicted and fined $500 with $83 court costs and ordered to repay Ms Ind.
Hegs and Ind gave conflicting evidence in the court of their accounts of what happened on the day Hegs was arrested, the status of their relationship, and whether or not Hegs had permission to use the vehicle on the property.
So it was up to Mr Lucas following evidence of several witnesses, to determine who was telling the truth.
Ms Ind told the court the money stolen was half the proceeds of the sale of a horse she had brokered, however Hegs’s solicitor James Horsborough claimed Ms Ind was not telling the truth and had used the money to pay for a family holiday in Sydney with Hegs and their children the weekend before.
Police prosecutor Andy Bobin cross- examined Hegs saying the $1800 found in Hegs’s top pocket by police on the night he was arrested belonged to the victim and discounted Hegs’s evidence he had tucked it in his top pocket as he went out working on the victim’s property in the allegedly stolen vehicle, but instead intended to use the money to finance his problem with alcohol.
“Are you telling the court you loaded up the tools and put the $1800 in your pocket because it helped you work?” Mr Bobin said.
However Hegs’s solicitor James Horsborough told the court the caravan in a shed where Ms Ind had her jewellery box was not locked and could be accessed by other people on the property including employees.
Ms Ind told the court her former partner was an alcoholic, often drinking for days at a time and she called the police when she realised her vehicle was missing because she feared for Hegs’s safety if he drove on the open road without a licence.