‘You need to get off the drugs’: judge slams addicted mother

Renae Gafa.

Renae Gafa.

The court has given a Ballarat drug addict and serial offender every opportunity over the past nine years to rehabilitate, a judge has said.

County Court Judge Michael McInerney was not prepared to change Renae Gafa’s 10 month jail sentence imposed at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on December 19 after she admitted she went on a crime spree while on a community corrections order.

Judge McInerney refused her appeal at the County Court at Ballarat on Friday, telling the 32-year-old she needed to stop using drugs.

“Your client has had every opportunity for nearly nine years and in that time she has consistently failed to comply. She now comes to court with serious criminality,” Judge McInerney said.

“Here is a life of essentially nine years which has been wasted. Ms Gafa, you need to get off the drugs. You have been given every chance and within all being on a community corrections order you went on this crime spree. You have two boys, you need to give it up.”

Gafa’s defence barrister told the court it was the first time his client had been in custody and despite previous community corrections orders, there was more scope for a non-custodial sentence.

The court was told Gafa was living at a drug house at the time of her offending, may have ADHD and was dealing with her mother’s death.

But these factors did not sway Judge McInerney to give Gafa a non-custodial sentence.

“If you commit crimes in that situation they are the consequences,” he said.

Between November 2016 and September 2017, Gafa racked up 31 charges, including driving offences, car theft, possessing a controlled weapon, dishonestly receiving stolen goods and breaching two community correction orders. 

One one occasion in September, Gafa and an unknown man stole a vehicle from a driveway on Talbot Street in Ballarat but were pursued by the victim in another vehicle. 

Gafa drove at speed attempting to evade the victim and lost control of the car, hitting a traffic pole, before making another getaway. 

The victim found her car crashed into a rock wall on Vickers Street in Sebastopol.

When police searched Gafa’s home in October with six warrants for her arrest, officers found her hiding in a fridge. 

Gafa sat in the dock during Friday’s appeal hearing nursing an injured bandaged arm in a sling. At times she sat with her head in her hands.

Judge McInerney did not change the 10-month sentence imposed in the magistrate’s court, which included a conviction and $2000 fine. 

Gafa has served 130 days in pre-sentence detention.

Two alternative charges that were meant to be stuck out in the magistrate’s court were withdrawn so they did not appear on Gafa’s record.