Former CWA secretary avoids gaol

THE former secretary of the Sale CWA, found guilty of stealing $24,000 from the branch, has escaped a gaol sentence.

Kate Lougheed, who had earlier pleaded guilty, had appealed against the severity of her original sentence.

The 66-year-old was originally sentenced to 12 months gaol, with a minimum of three months, after she pleaded guilty to stealing the money between 2009 and 2010 to feed her gambling habit.

The theft resulted in the local branch almost closing.

In the Sale County Court on Friday, solicitor Rod Connley, acting on behalf of Mrs Lougheed, pledged full repayment of the money, saying it would be transferred to the CWA on Monday.

He also tendered a neuropsychological report to the court regarding Mrs Lougheed, saying a custodial sentence would impact on her health and lead to further degeneration.

Mr Connley conceded that the theft represented a breach of trust, but said Mrs Lougheed had never denied her crime and had made full admission.

Judge Mark Dean said his primary concern was that the CWA branch would receive restitution and it appeared that would be the case.

However he told the court he was concerned at her extensive criminal history and the likelihood she may reoffend.

Because of her health and age, and the fact that she had pledged restitution, Judge Dean suspended the original sentence for 24 months.

Mrs Lougheed was warned if she did reoffend in that time, she would be brought back to the court and sentenced, and would in all likelihood serve that sentence.

A large contingent of CWA members and supporters attended the hearing and outside the court afterwards the mood was one of anger, but also relief.

Sale CWA branch secretary Gwen Goodwin issued a statement saying at last justice had been done.

“Sale CWA would like to say thanks to everyone that helped us over the last three years.

“Today we can now go forward to a brighter future,” she said.g and outside the court afterwards the mood was one of anger, but also relief.

Sale CWA branch secretary Gwen Goodwin issued a statement saying at last justice had been done.

“Sale CWA would like to say thanks to everyone that helped us over the last three years.

“Today we can now go forward to a brighter future,” she said.