GUILTY: Fraser Coast principal stole from his school

Damien Gainsford pleaded guilty in court to theft and fraud.
Damien Gainsford pleaded guilty in court to theft and fraud. Toni McRae

A DISGRACED school principal has been fined for stealing.

Damien William Gainsford was a principal at Urangan Point State School when he took two iPads.

He pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Thursday to theft and fraud.

The court heard the 45-year-old man, who had a clean criminal history and thrived in a prominent role, was now struggling to "re-establish" his career.

The Pacific Haven resident's crimes committed last year were done "in the open" and with the help of other staff who unknowingly assisted.

His defence lawyer told the court that the offences have had "significant consequences" on Gainsford.

"It was foolish," his lawyer said.

"He should be given every opportunity to move on with his life."

Gainsford was the principal at the Hervey Bay primary school until earlier this year.

In his first court appearance in September, Gainsford pleaded not guilty to three charges but changed his plea at a later date.

The case did not go to trial.

In a school newsletter sent to parents in August, they were informed that Gainsford had been sent to work at a Maryborough office on a "special project".

An acting principal was appointed at the school.

Magistrate Stephen Guttridge told Gainsford he had placed himself in a "tragic situation".

"It was a breach of a trust," Mr Guttridge said.

Gainsford was fined $2000.

No conviction was recorded.



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