A WARRNAMBOOL offender who admitted breaking into the Merrivale Primary School and stealing three computers to feed his amphetamine habit has avoided another jail sentence despite having 17 pages of prior convictions.
Michael Proctor, 22, of no fixed address, appeared in the Koori division of the Warrnambool Magistrates Court after previously being remanded on burglary and theft charges in early May.
In a ground-breaking decision, magistrate Jonathan Klestadt asked Warrnambool's Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative to come up with a support plan for Proctor using existing services.
It is a highly unusual step for a magistrate to bypass Community Corrections and request such a support plan . Proctor was remanded in custody for two weeks while the plan is prepared.
The magistrate is expected to adjourn sentencing on June 7 for about three-and-a-half months and then review Proctor's progress. Police allege Proctor and a co-offender broke into the Merrivale Primary School on April 28, taking three computers.
Proctor was also been charged with trespass and theft in relation to car wheels.
All the crimes were committed in an effort to raise cash for his amphetamine addiction.
Mr Klestadt told Proctor that he was the only one who could change but he couldn't do it by himself.
He said many people had been affected by Proctor's offending, but he was viewed as part of the Warrnambool Koori community and if he offended while on the program he would letting his community down.
"You will have to stop doing the things that get you into trouble. Every time you inject speed you are a step closer to a cell," he said.
The magistrate said his directive to Proctor would be simple engage and participate with members of the Gunditjmara co-op and stick to the plan.
"If you do what you need to I will not lock you up. The ball is in your court," Mr Klestadt said. "If you stuff it up you will go back to jail. "
Proctor agreed to the proposal and committed to "giving it a good go".