Gladstone man jailed, found with stolen war medals
A GLADSTONE man was shocked to discover he would be spending the next month behind bars after being found in possession of stolen war medals.
Shaqeal Joseph Bligh was sentenced to jail in Gladstone Magistrates Court on Friday after pleading guilty to stealing and receiving tainted property charges.
Bligh's offending occurred between April 7-10 2018 at different locations in Benaraby, Boyne Island and Kin Kora.
Although Bligh was not charged with stealing three of the items, he was "in close proximity" to the thief at the time of the offending the court was told.
Several items were stolen across the region including war medals from a Boyne Island home, fishing equipment, a car key and a stereo speaker.
The court was told the 21-year-old was drunk when he and a mate were driving around and decided to commit the offences.
Defence lawyer Miguel Ramirez said Bligh's role was more of an "unwitting participant".
"They were driving around, the co-accused suggested it," Mr Ramirez said.
"He came into contact with the items when he was in the car."
Magistrate Dennis Kinsella said the most serious offence was the possession of the stolen war medals.
He also noted at the time of the offence Bligh was on a suspended jail term for separate offending.
"You criminal history is extensive for someone your age, it's nearly four pages," Mr Kinsella said.
Mr Kinsella said he believed Bligh would need to serve actual time behind bars.
Bligh began to protest and was placed in the custody dock in the courtroom.
Bligh told Mr Kinsella he wanted nothing to do with the offending and "would never steal war medals".
"They were just handed to me," Bligh said.
Mr Kinsella told Bligh he was being sentenced for having them in his possession.
Bligh said he wanted to speak with his mother and girlfriend, who were present in the courtroom.
It was an emotional goodbye for Bligh as he was sentenced to four months jail, with parole release on February 24.
Mr Kinsella also activated the suspended jail terms for the previous offending of seven, nine and 12 months to run concurrently.