Appeal against jail for truck arson fails

A MAN who was the ring-leader when a truck was stolen and torched during a drunken fishing trip has been jailed.

Stewart Lambert, 26, of Rands Road, Timboon, lost his appeal against a 15-month jail term with a non-parole period of eight months when he appeared in the Warrnambool County Court this week.

In April 2012, Lambert and two co-accused, Anthony McKenzie and Scott McKay both from Timboon, went to the Boggy Creek Hotel where Lambert was told to leave after consuming too much alcohol.

The court heard although Lambert’s  licence had been disqualified, he drove to nearby Dawson’s Bush with the other two men to do “circle work” until the Commodore overheated and became stuck.

Later the three men walked to a property on Whisky Creek Road for help. Finding no one home, Lambert threatened to assault the other two until McKay agreed to steal a truck from the property.

McKay submitted, and with the other two drove 30 kilometres in the truck to Smokey Point Road where they attempted to wipe it clean of fingerprints.

Police said Lambert again intimidated his two co-accused, saying the truck had to be set on fire to destroy any evidence. McKenzie complied and set fire to the foam seats with  a cigarette lighter.

In May, McKenzie and McKay each received four months’ jail wholly suspended for two years.

Defence counsel Amanda Hurst said Lambert, who has a low IQ and a previous conviction for arson, had always been a hard worker and intended to find work in Ballarat.

Judge Mark Taft said if Lambert had come before him for the original offending he would have received a harsher sentence. Lambert was ordered to pay compensation to the victims.

Judge Taft imposed the sentence under the same terms as was handed down in the magistrates court.

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