A WOMAN who stole a knife from a supermarket “for protection” faces a possible three month jail term after she breached a suspended sentence.
But Caro Cole’s defence argued for exceptional circumstance, saying the 22-year-old had become embroiled in the aftermath of a woman being stabbed in Ballarat’s CBD last month.
Defence lawyer Richard Oakley said Cole was the first on the scene and was still awaiting counselling.
Cole, from Clarkes Hill, appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday where she pleaded guilty to four charges including two counts of shop theft.
The court heard Cole and a man went into Coles supermarket in Melbourne Central on January 6 this year, grabbed a pack of two knives, opened it and put one of the knives in her bag.
She later told police she stole the knife “for protection”.
The pair, then being followed by a lost prevention officer, went to Big W across the road and were seen removing items from a 28 piece screwdriver set.
Police then moved in and arrested the pair.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Steve Kent said the thefts breached a three month suspended sentence handed out last September for a burglary Cole committed on her own home.
Defence lawyer Richard Oakley urged the court not to jail his client, saying Cole had been the first person on the scene when a woman was stabbed on the corner of Lydiard and Sturt streets last month.
He said she had helped the victim and police, and was still suffering ongoing psychological effects from the incident.
Cole wiped tears from her eyes as Mr Oakley talked about the stabbing, of which she was said to have been the only one to intervene.
Mr Oakley said Cole was also involved in a serious car accident in 2006, which he claimed was linked to the thefts.
“She was prescribed oxycontin (for the pain) which resulted in an addiction,” he said. “She attributed that addiction to much of her offending in the past years.
“Now she’s been off oxycontin for seven-and-a-half months and there’s been no offending since then.”
Magistrate Peter Couzens did not say if he would activate the suspended jail term, but had Cole assessed for a community corrections order.
Sentencing was adjourned to next Tuesday.