Thief fails in bid to beat cafe break-in conviction
A BURGLAR whose fingerprints were found in a robbed cafe unsuccessfully tried to appeal his conviction in court.
Fingerprints left on a box near a shattered window were key evidence used against Christopher William Eugene, 36, in convicting him of breaking into and stealing money from Chocolate Country at Montville last year.
Eugene, of Diamond Valley, was found guilty at Caloundra Magistrates Court in November of several offences including entering a premises and committing indictable offence.
He was sentenced to a 12-month intensive correction order but lodged an appeal in January.
District Court Judge Glen Cash dismissed the appeal on Friday.
“The only evidence implicating the appellant was that his fingerprints were found on a box in the premises,” Mr Cash said.
Eugene’s appeal was based on a submission that there was conflicting evidence as to the location of the box, which his fingerprints were found on, before the break in.
Cafe owner Julie Walters testified that before the break-in the box had been stored in the office above the computer equipment that had been stolen.
Senior Constable Simon Troy, a scenes of crime officer, said he was told by Ms Walters that the box had been removed from a drawer underneath the window, rather than a shelf in the office, and moved to the position where it was found.
This presented the possibility that Eugene deposited his fingerprints on the box while innocently browsing the store.
But Mr Cash said he was bound to rely on Ms Walters’ testimony.
“The evidence of Senior Constable Troy could not be relied upon to prove the location of the box: the rule against hearsay prohibited such a use,” Mr Cash said.
“Theories about how his fingerprints came innocently to be on the box cease to be reasonable once it is accepted that the box was in a private part of the cafe and was moved during the break-in.”
Mr Cash said it was also unlikely that Eugene was involved in the sale or delivery of the box or that he happened across the scene after the break-in had occurred and handled the box.
The appeal was dismissed.