The case of the $3 police cup

A MAGISTRATE expressed disbelief that a charge of wilful damage of police property was proceeding yesterday, after learning that the property in question was a plastic cup.

Benjamin Joseph Cahill told the court through duty lawyer Trinity McGarvie that he offered to pay for the cup, valued at $3.

On a Thursday that saw more than 150 court listings, including charges of rape, assault, drug trafficking and unlawful wounding, Ms McGarvie asked for the “trivial” charge to be withdrawn.

Magistrate Graeme Tatnell agreed that the matter was “wasting the court’s time” but, as the charge was not withdrawn, it had to be adjourned until May 30 for a summary hearing.

This would involve further expense and time in an already clogged legal system.

Laughter was heard from the packed public gallery of the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court following an exchange in which Mr Tatnell asked: “What sort of plastic cup was it?” to which Ms McGarvie replied: “A very valuable one, your honour.”

Police Prosecutor Sergeant Kath Stagoll was left in the unenviable position of being handed a case that was completely correct in law – damage to police property did occur – but resulted in disbelief in the courtroom.

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