Lumberjack worker in full protective gear cutting firewood
Lumberjack worker in full protective gear cutting firewood

Magistrate’s epic takedown after ‘glowing’ reference

A GLOWING work reference turned out to be "absolute rubbish" when a hawk-eyed magistrate recognised the name of the 'employer' as a well-known druggie.

 

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The attempt at bail by Luke James Matthews, 35, was not appreciated by Magistrate Deborah Vasta who told him: "You must think I came down in the last rain shower."

Former Wynnum man Matthews had spent the last 16 months in custody and was charged with three counts of breaching bail, unlawfully possessing a substance and wilful damage of police property on Tuesday.

Appearing via video link from Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre it was alleged that Matthews breached his bail conditions when he removed and threw away a GPS tracker between February 9-13.

The $803 device was later discovered by police in Lota in a field beside a road.

Cleveland Magistrate's Court also heard that on February 14 Matthews was intercepted by police at 12.45am in Capalaba while walking alongside the road in an alleged breach of his bail conditions.

The defendant was also alleged to have breached his bail when he stayed at the Manly Hotel for three days in February without informing police.

The court heard Matthews had a long history of drug offending and had been in and out of jail for years.

 

 

The work reference from Redlands arborist Tree Problem, No Problem turned out to be fake.
The work reference from Redlands arborist Tree Problem, No Problem turned out to be fake.

Defence solicitor Stephanie Tsimos said her client had found stable accommodation in Springfield Lakes away from local drug temptations and presented the court with a glowing work reference from Redlands arborist Tree Problem, No Problem.

"His employer said he is one of the hardest working employees he has ever had," Ms Tsimos said.

However, problems arose when Magistrate Deborah Vasta noticed the supposed reference had been emailed by a "known drug offender".

"This is a name I know well, I have seen it on the top of bench charge sheets for the last three years I have been here," Magistrate Vasta said.

Police prosecutor Emily Ollenburg contacted the company during the hearing and confirmed with its director that Matthews had never been an employee.

Magistrate Vasta said the discovery further undercut Matthews' testimony that he had been on his way to the hospital for an injured finger when he was seen walking by police in Capalaba at around 1am in the morning on February 14.

"Absolute rubbish," Magistrate Vasta said.

"You must think I came down in the last rain shower."

The court heard Matthews had been shot in the stomach during a drug-related incident in December 2017 from which he had developed severe PTSD.

Magistrate Vasta clarified that the incident had not stopped his alleged offending which continued in January 2018.

The magistrate acknowledged that Matthews was in danger of spending too much time in custody but could not be trusted with bail.

Matthews was remanded in custody.

 

 

Originally published as Magistrate's epic takedown after 'glowing' reference from druggie