Magistrate has no truck with mystery towie story
A MYSTERY tow truck driver was blamed for the loss of a friend's car, but the defendant's version of events didn't wash with an Ipswich magistrate.
The story began at Babinda in North Queensland, when Mosese Holani was loaned a car and given hundreds of dollars to drive it to Melbourne.
That was back in December, and an Ipswich court this week heard the owner was still waiting.
Ipswich Magistrates Court heard the owner received 26 toll road charges linked to her car from the Brisbane and Ipswich area.
Police caught up with Holani near Ipswich, driving a Hyundai and he was charged over the missing car that remains unlocated.
Mosese Vatuniloka Holani, 31, of Leichhardt, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to unlawful use of a motor vehicle between January 1 and May 24; and drug driving while unlicensed.
Defence lawyer Trevor Hoskin said it was "a complex set of facts. My client states he had no dishonest intentions with the car”.
"I don't know if I can accept that submission. He's told lies all the way through to the owner,” Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said.
Mr Hoskin said Holani entered an agreement to drive the car to Melbourne but on arriving in Brisbane heard his job there had fallen through.
"The thing that brought everything undone was his involvement in a car accident at Ipswich,” Mr Hoskin said.
"He instructs the car was still driveable but in poor shape and 30 days later it broke down in the middle of the road.
"A motorist stopped and helped him to push it off the road.
"He (the helpful driver) said he had a mate, a tow truck driver, to help him out.
"He was given a phone number and given a lift to East Ipswich train station.
"He later phoned the number given to find out where the car was towed to. No person existed and the whereabouts of the car today is unknown.”
Mr Hoskin said Holani then agreed to pay the woman $2500 for her car.
"In hindsight, he should have told police what happened. That the car was stolen by a tow-truck driver.”
Prosecutor Sergeant Paul Caldwell said police sought compensation of $3467.
Magistrate Sturgess said he had to have the car in Melbourne by Christmas Day and was given $700 but the car failed to arrive. She said Holani then made excuses for the delays and had been in contact with the owner about 30 times.
When the owner arranged with her brother to pick up her missing car from an address at Redbank Plains, neither Holani nor the car were there.
"So the only person who knows what happened is you. Of course I will be sceptical of anything you tell me,” Ms Sturgess said.
"There is no evidence that it was involved in a crash.
"It is a highly unusual set of circumstances. It is difficult to know what to do with you.”
Ms Sturgess fined Holani $1500, ordering he pay the woman $3267.94.
His licence was disqualified for three months.