A former Cherbourg resident faced Kingaroy District Court this morning for breaching his suspneded prison sentence for the third time. Photo/File
A former Cherbourg resident faced Kingaroy District Court this morning for breaching his suspneded prison sentence for the third time. Photo/File

Young rapist in Kingaroy court after breaching sentence

A FORMER Cherbourg resident found himself back in court facing prison time after breaching his suspended sentence for the third time.

Kingaroy District Court heard on the morning of November 24 that Francis Purcell has been on a five-year suspended prison sentence for a 2015 rape conviction.

This was his third appearance for breaching his suspended sentence, this time for a public nuisance offence and a wilful damage offence.

The now 26-year-old previously appeared before the court in 2017 for failing to comply with reporting under the conditions of his suspended sentence and again in 2019 for possessing dangerous drugs and pipes and utensils in a drug offence.

The court heard Purcell was heavily intoxicated while banging on his mother‘s door, swearing and yelling abuse, before smashing a glass bottle, kicking in the front screen door and removing the cladding from another screen.

Catherine Cuthbert appeared on behalf of Purcell instructed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal service.

Ms Cuthbert said Purcell was slowly making progress on his issues.

“Around three years ago Mr Purcell’s brother killed himself by hanging and it has profoundly affected Mr Purcell who has been, really in his mothers view, unable to process the grief,” Ms Cuthbert said.

“That becomes apparent when he drinks and a rage inside of him emerges and hence the type of offending.”

When Purcell appeared in March 2019, the court heard Purcell had been socialising in Cherbourg with a group of young people who were addicted to drugs and sniffing petrol.

The court heard he was involved in an activity, similar to Russian roulette, to see who had the ‘courage’ to hang themselves before the others rescued him.

His older brother was participating in the activity and no one rescued him causing him to die as a result of the hanging.

This is what Ms Cuthbert said sent Purcell into a world of grief.

In today’s Kingaroy District Court hearing, prosecutor Alex Stark appeared on behalf of the Crown.

He said although these charges are minor, it’s concerning as it’s the third time he has come before the court for minor offending.

“I’ll concede it would be unjust to activate all of it,” Prosecutor Stark said.

“I will state some concern from the prosecution, this is his third time coming before the court.

“To make a blunt statement of it, most citizens live their lives without committing any criminal offences or at least having no criminal history.

“Here he has to avoid it for five years and was unable to do so.”

Ms Cuthbert said Purcell has re-engaged with his general practitioner and been referred for psychological support and counselling.

“It’s my submission that it‘s obvious this young man needs to engage in counselling and psychological support to deal with those grief issues,” she said.

“My submission is that you would sentence Mr Purcell to the rising of the court for this simple reason. He has been before the court on breaches of suspended sentence a number of times now for fairly low level offending.

“He is making progress, he retains the support of his mother, he has been approved for social housing and once a unit becomes available that will bring some stability to his life.

“It’s simply a submission of what is the utility of extending the operational period.”

Judge Geraldine Dann said she was of the opinion it was unjust to activate the whole of the suspended sentence and sentenced Purcell to the rising of the court.

Once court was adjourned, Purcell was released and not further punished.

If you or someone you know needs someone to talk, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to www.beyondblue.org.au

South Burnett


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