When the courts are as guilty as the criminal

The courts have enabled this woman to keep attacking the elderly. They are her accomplices

ONE of Queensland's most notorious thieves has again escaped a penalty for a vile crime. Kim Scully received another tongue-lashing from a magistrate this week but in the end received a conviction and no further penalty for using her baby son's pram to steal the purse of a 63-year-old woman.

Scully has walked free of custodial sentence so often that one magistrate admitted he stopped counting. She is in jail today not because of the crime involving the baby's pram. Instead she is in custody for violating the parole she received after being convicted in June of other thefts.

Police have constantly vented frustration. Those feelings were best summed up by one senior police officer, who, after learning Scully was back before the courts, said: "She (Scully) could get away with murder."

Scully's 18-year criminal career has followed a pattern - most of her victims are older, frail and easily scared. Since her life of crime kicked off in 1993, Scully, who has had drug issues, has preyed upon up to 50 people aged in their early-60s to mid-90s. Almost all of her victims were out shopping when she went after them.

When the 41-year-old mother-of-four stood in a Brisbane court yesterday, it was as a person who has spent more time there than almost any other petty criminal. On some occasions Scully has stolen within hours of walking away from court.

Magistrate John Costello on Thursday said Scully had been given, and failed, more chances at probation than anyone he had ever seen. "I ... almost gave up counting (the number of) probation orders (and actually) gave up counting at 2010," he said. "It's a worry. (Scully) has a routine for picking her victims and they are elderly females."

Mr Costello said Scully's claims, during almost every court appearance, that she had learnt her lesson and was keen to rehabilitate were contradicted by her "five pages" of criminal history.

In March 2005, Sandgate magistrate Pam Dowse told Scully her behaviour made her "sick to the stomach". Ms Dowse made the comments while giving Scully two years' probation for stealing purses from three elderly women.

In June, District Court Judge Deborah Richards told Scully: "I'm not convinced you're really committed to your rehabilitation. "You've have had plenty of chances at probation ... and if you offend while you're on parole they (prison authorities) will ... (send you) straight to jail."

Judge Richards' comments came while sentencing Scully to two years' jail for stealing from four victims aged 75 to 84 in June and July last year, but she was immediately released on parole.

Scully's lack of respect for the courts and chances she has been given have been demonstrated by her pattern of reoffending within hours of leaving court - sometimes while still dressed in the same outfit in which she appeared before the judge or magistrate.

Last year The Courier-Mail revealed a heavily pregnant Scully had travelled to a Redcliffe supermarket and stolen from a 79-year-old woman less than three hours after Judge Michael Noud gave her yet another "one last chance". Judge Noud had told her: "I think you should be given another opportunity on probation to rehabilitate yourself."

On June 3 this year, Judge Richards showed her similar mercy by jailing her, but ordering her immediate release on parole. Less than a week later Scully allegedly struck again and was subsequently charged with a "dozen" offences and ordered to stand trial on eight separate occasions.

However, Legal Aid solicitor Kathryn Volk, for Scully, this week said police had dropped charges against Scully on all but one of those matters.


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