A MAN’S appeal against a jail term has been adjourned after a County Court judge removed himself from the hearing.
In November last year Edward Michael Byrne, 43, of Ekard Avenue, Warrnambool, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to 20 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception.
He was sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order and for breaching a suspended sentence had a one-month jail term imposed.
At the time the court heard Byrne made false accounts with Origin Energy, Red Energy, Australia Power and Gas, TRU Energy, Telstra, Austar and Dodo, dating back to 2007.
A four-page summary of charges detailing how Byrne created false names, licence and passport numbers was provided to magistrate Jonathan Klestadt. The offending breached a suspended sentence for shop thefts.
Yesterday, Judge Mark Gamble said he and his associate and his tipstaff, who have been on the Warrnambool County Court circuit, were at the Club Warrnambool when a friendly conversation was struck up with a man he yesterday learned was Byrne.
Judge Gamble said it was general chit-chat about the weather and the cricket but he felt uneasy continuing with the hearing.
“Sometimes Warrnambool is a small town,” he said.
Judge Gamble said he would be cautious and prudent in the matter and excused himself from the appeal.
Byrne’s bail was extended and the hearing was adjourned to the Warrnambool County Court on September 23.