A man is on his last chance after being found in possession of almost $2000 worth of stolen items on multiple days.
Gabriel Mark Edwards of Hunter's Lane, Lakes Entrance, was sentenced for 17 offences, including breached bonds when he appeared in Orange Local Court on November 30, 2023.
The 41-year-old was already in custody as an unsentenced inmate when he appeared in court via an audio visual link.
According to court documents, Edwards absconded from from Bloomfield Mental Health Hospital where he'd been due to drug-induced psychosis on October 1, 2023.
Just days later he walked in Orange Police Station at 2am on October 4, 2023.
He appeared in a "highly agitated state" slurring his words and stumbling with a needle exchange box protruding from his top breast pocket and a needle sitting next to it.
The police searched him and found 1.6 grams of cannabis, which Edwards claimed was "medicinal".
Police also searched his bag and found five Vodaphone $40 starter SIM card packs and 21 gift cards valued at $50 each. The gift cards and SIM card all appeared new with a combined value of $1250.
A day later Edwards was caught again and was this time charged with having possession of a stolen debit card, shoplifting $175.52 from Coles Supermarket, assaulting a witness to the theft, and stealing $529 worth of property from Donut King.
According to the police, he entered the supermarket at 6.15pm on October 5 and filled a shopping basket with electrical items and banana prawns.
He left through the self-serve checkout and ignored an employee who told him to pay for the items then yelled at a male witness.
The employee and witness followed him out of the supermarket and Edwards put the basket down and punched the witness in the left hand and pushed him in the chest.
The incident was captured on CCTV.
Edwards was later arrested near the drive-thru bottle shop on Lords Place.
While he was being booked in at the police station, the police found a woman's debit card in his possession
Police also became aware of a previous theft from Donut King at between 5.18pm and 5.23pm on October 2.
CCTV showed him stealing two soft drinks from the fridge, an EFTPOS machine and a meat thermometer.
The EFTPOS machine was worth about $500 but it's loss cost the business significantly more.
Edwards was also re-sentenced for breaching a conditional release order he'd been given for intimidation and common assault offences in Wellington.
He also breached community correction orders for having custody of a knife at Dubbo, larceny and dishonestly obtaining financial advantage at Wellington as well as intimidation and drug possession at Broken Hill. Those orders were also revoked and were included in the new sentence.
Magistrate David Day said the drug possession was a serious matter.
"Your client has an appalling record to do with drug misuse disorder," he said to solicitor Naadirah Sathar.
Ms Sathar had suggested a conviction with no further penalty would be a suitable sentence for possession of the 1.6 grams of cannabis.
"The weight of the drug is a significant factor," she said.
However, Mr Day disagreed.
"Conditions of parole have been pushing him in the direction of sorting out his head and sorting out the drugs," he said.
"The drug of choice is methamphetamine."
He added that most of the offending was when he was on drugs or was stealing and dishonesty offences so he could buy drugs.
Ms Sathar detailed the man's complex mental health conditions and background and asked that the period he's already spent in custody be taken into account.
Mr Day also found that community safety could be better met by addressing Edwards' drug use and mental health in the community.
For all 17 offences, Mr Day placed Edwards on a two-year intensive correction order until November 29, 2025.
The community-based jail sentence will also require him to participate in rehabilitation and treatment and to abstain from drugs.