People with a gambling problem often want to keep it a secret from their family. If they take money from the family funds the gambling problem wouldn’t remain a secret for very long.
Sometimes, a person will commit theft in order to keep the gambling problem a secret.
Unfortunately gambling machines are designed in such a way as to encourage the gambling problem.
A win along the way is often the very worst thing as the gambler can see a win of $1000 might have been a win of $100, 000 and the theft could be rectified.
To fund a gambling problem, people often steal vast amounts of money and are charged with theft. The case is not simple from a lawyer’s point of view. Often there will be a preliminary hearing in the Magistrate’s Court (Committal) followed by the County Court or Supreme Court proceedings. See Brendan Wilkinson Procedure in Criminal Cases
Often serious work is required to help overcome a gambling problem. For example, the right psychologist is needed. The Self-Exclusion Program should also be explored. This is designed to assist patrons who have a gambling problem by restricting their attendance at designated gaming venues. Hotels and Crown Casino offer Self-Exclusion Programs.
Certain simple steps can be taken to help a gambler put road blocks in the way of the gambling problem. Examples include dual signatures on cheques, telling family and friends, removing pin numbers and only signatures to obtain funds, not taking cards to gambling venues, and letting your bank know your problem.
Peer Connection operates as a telephone peer support and is staffed by trained volunteers who have all recovered from a gambling problem of their own, or that of their partner. Callers to Peer Connection can benefit from sharing experiences with others who have had a gambling problem. Peer Connection can be contacted on (03) 9450 2637.
Certain psychologists offer meditation programs to develop an insight and an ability to deal with a gambling problem. It is important to learn to better manage thinking, reduce stress and depression and improve personal control.
A lot of other issues need to be considered in cases involving a gambling problem and a charge of theft. Restitution may be an important consideration but may not make all that much difference if a third party is also ruined in making restitution, for example because the parents have to sell the house. Now we have two victims not one.
In defending a charge of theft, it is important to assess the victim impact statements which can be very negative. Courts also ask the Crown for a sentencing range and this is important as that range can be provided without a good understanding of all of the facts which favour the person with a gambling problem.
Accordingly, it is very important for the lawyer acting for an accused charged with theft to provide to the Office of Public Prosecutions all plea material well before the hearing date. It is inappropriate to bring the plea material on the day of the hearing if the Crown should have been provided with this material earlier.
Brendan Wilkinson is experienced with cases involving a gambling problem and is available to assist. Contact Brendan on 9670 1987 firstname.lastname@example.org.