Grafton Court House
Grafton Court House Caitlan Charles

Texts and phone photos reveal truckie's guilt

A TRAIL of text messages and phone photographs has led to a court finding a Grafton truck driver guilty of stealing part of his cargo.

Justin Keith Kay, 36, of Grafton pleaded guilty to charges of larceny as a bailee and failure to appear in court, when he appeared in Grafton Local Court yesterday.

Police facts in the case allege Kay and a co-accused, Daniel Franklin, entered into an agreement to steal part of a consignment of cigarettes from the back of a truck Mr Kay drove from Clybucca to Grafton on April 19, 2017.

Police found incriminating text messages and photos on Mr Franklin's phone and a phone belonging to his girlfriend.

One message asked her to meet the truck on the Pacific Highway at South Grafton to collect the tobacco products they had stolen.

Another included photographs of unopened packets of tobacco products inside the cabin of the truck Key was driving.

Later, when police searched Key's Grafton unit, they found a phone with another incriminating text on it.

A search of Franklin's South Grafton home found 92 packets of unopened cigarettes as well as wrappings from other tobacco products and an invoice from a Grafton tobacconist.

GPS tracking of Kay's truck showed he picked up Franklin in the early hours of April 19, 2017.

The truck arrived at Clybucca at 4.51am, where they attached a trailer with a consignment of cigarettes and tobacco in a locked cage.

The pair headed back to Grafton, but made an unscheduled stop at a service station in Macksville, where they parked the truck well away from the truckstop restaurant.

Here, police said, Kay and Franklin broke into the consignment in the back of the truck and stole an estimated $3000 worth of tobacco products.

A courier, who met the truck at South Grafton, noticed abnormalities in the load and asked for an audit from Linfox, which revealed the theft. He notified police.

The court heard that Kay had taken Franklin on the trip because he had a troubled upbringing and wanted to ride in a truck and the theft was conducted on a whim.

In relation to the fail to appear charge, defence solicitor Michelle Hermann said her client was away from Grafton driving when crucial paperwork arrived at his house. Kay also claimed some paperwork was stolen from his house, but pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to appear.

Magistrate Karen Stafford sentenced Kay to a 12-month good behaviour bond and a $1000 fine for the larceny and a $500 fine for the fail to appear.



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