Rod Culleton says the only reason he dropped the application to have the larceny case heard by a jury was because there was a plea deal done.
Speaking outside Armidale Local Court on Tuesday, Mr Culleton said it was a “favourable outcome” after he was handed a Section 10a dismissal for a larceny charge.
“It’s been at huge expense, not only to my family but to a number of parties over $7.50 of a key, a key that I put the value too,” he told media.
“I just basically can say some days dogshit does stick to your boot but I can say I want to go on from here.”
The case was set down for hearing in court on Tuesday morning but Mr Culleton reversed his not guilty plea to guilty, admitting to the theft of the tow truck key on April 11, 2014.
In sentencing, Magistrate Michael Holmes ordered Mr Culleton to pay $322.85 in compensation.
“The judge Holmes clearly said I was of very good character, I may have been a bit foolish and perhaps that maybe the case,” Mr Culleton said.
“I was protecting my assets, they took me by surprise, there was a what can I say a hairy back tow truck driver that appeared on my property, and look there was an altercation and one that went on too long but that’s what happened.”
Mr Culleton said at the time he had just driven his road train across the Nullabor and perhaps “was a bit tired and fatigued”.
Mr Culleton escaped conviction meaning he’ll be able to continue in his role as a One Nation Senator for Western Australia.
He said after the lengthy legal battle he’ll look closely at the judicial system.
“I’ve set a bit of an example, I’m lucky that I can afford it, but what about the poor people that cant,” he said outside court.
“That’s why I really want to look into the judiciary system to be fair, unless you’ve got the money, you can’t win.
“I was convicted in my absence and what a complete turnaround, the magistrate saw me of good character.”
Culleton’s barrister Peter King says his client’s name has been cleared.
“I’m very pleased to say that Rod Culleton has been completely exonerated in the court today and the charges against him have been dismissed,” he said outstide Armidale Local Court.
“On the basis he was to be completely exonerated and he was, and indeed the magistrate held that he was a man of very good character.”
Magistrate Michael Holmes has found the larceny charge proven but dismissed it under Section 10A, meaning Rod Culleton will be free to continue as a senator for Western Australia.
In sentencing, Mr Holmes said Culleton acted “foolishly” during the dispute in 2014.
Mr Holmes said he took into account the extenuating delays in the case by Culleton, his good character, family ties and his work.
“The trivial nature of the offence … but I do find that you acted somewhat foolishly,” he told Culleton.
Mr Holmes ordered Culleton to pay $322.85 in compensation to the tow truck driver.
Rod Culleton has pleaded guilty to stealing a tow truck driver’s key after an altercation in April 2014.
Barrister Peter King said his client was acting in “self-defence” when the key was “flung” during the confrontation on April 11 in Guyra.
“[His actions] was to prevent a criminal trespass to his vehicle and the property on which he was located,” he told the court.
WA ONE Nation senator Rod Culleton will try and have a charge he stole a tow truck driver’s key in Guyra heard before a jury.
The newly-elected senator appeared in Armidale Local Court on Tuesday morning where the case was set down for hearing before the court was told he wants the matter dealt with in the district court.
Mr Culleton’s barrister Peter King lodged an application in the court to have the matter which he says is strictly indictable heard by a jury.
But Magistrate Michael Holmes is refusing to grant the application.
“This was never flagged, the matter is listed for hearing today,” he told the court.
“This was received yesterday morning at this courthouse … not very satisfactory is it.
“I would have expected more courtesy to the court.”
For the charge to be dealt with in the district court the larceny charge must relate to an item worth more than $5000.
Mr Holmes questioned the application and said Mr Culleton had been quoted in the media saying the charge related to “a $7.50 key”.
“He now puts the value at over $ 5000,” Mr Holmes said examining the papers.
“I think the charge sets the value of the obtaining the key the value of … just say about $300.
“That’s what the crown is relying on for the purposes of these proceedings.
“It is not a proper case for a jury.”
Mr King said there were two issues in the case and it should be heard before a jury.
There’s been … fair to say a beefing up of the prosecution case.- Barrister Peter King
“There’s been … fair to say a beefing up of the prosecution case,” Mr King told the court.
Mr Culleton has pleaded not guilty to the charge of stealing the key in Guyra on April 11, 2014.
According to court documents, Culleton is accused of the theft of a key for a Peterbuilt heavy haulage tow truck between 8am and 10am.
Court papers state the property is worth $322.85, with the tow truck owner seeking compensation for the purchase and installation costs after he was forced to get a new ignition switch and door locks.
The court has been told the prosecution has obtained further evidence with four extra statements served on the defence in the lead-up to the hearing, including two new statements.
The prosecutor said "discussions" were ongoing but "majority" of the prosecution witnesses were ready for the hearing today.
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