Portland man's prison term suspended, but more cases are pending

AN apparent memory lapse has worked for a Portland man who walked from court after previously being jailed for 39 days.

Maxwell Vincent McKenzie, 37, of Wattle Grove, appealed this week against the severity of a jail sentence in Warrnambool County Court and had to show exceptional circumstances to avoid serving a suspended jail sentence.

During the appeal McKenzie, who represented himself, said he had been in no further trouble with police except for issues with his partner’s intervention order.

However, unknown to Judge Paul Grant at the appeal hearing, McKenzie is in fact listed to appear in the Portland Magistrates Court on April 29 in relation to two police briefs of evidence, court documents show. 

He is facing charges of recklessly causing injury, careless driving, driving in a dangerous manner, reckless conduct endangering serious injury and two counts of refusing breath tests.

McKenzie is also listed to appear in the Portland Magistrates Court on May 6 for breaching his community corrections order.

At this week’s appeal hearing, Judge Grant decided that McKenzie met the exceptional circumstances criteria, in that he now had full-time employment, had responded positively to finding work and, in the appellant’s own words, “he had never had it so good”.

Judge Grant imposed the previous suspended three-month sentence, of which 51 days have already been served, and further suspended the outstanding 39 days for another three months.

He warned McKenzie that he couldn’t afford to “muck up” in the next three months.

McKenzie has a long list of prior convictions and been jailed previously.

Crown prosecutor David O’Doherty told the hearing that in February last year McKenzie received an effective 39-day suspended sentenced on a range of assault matters.

In April last year McKenzie was arrested for resisting police. 

On December 2 a magistrate imposed a CCO and activated McKenzie’s 39-day suspended sentence.

McKenzie said his partner had a baby son in November last year and he was now working for the first time in a long time.

He said he won a best and fairest award at the Heathmere football club and was best-on-ground last weekend.

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