Magistrate censured for jailing woman for minor crime

TOOWOOMBA magistrate Bruce Shemioneck has been berated in a higher court for his decision to keep a woman in jail who is facing minor stealing charges.

Cassandra Joy Ward, 18, will be home in time for Christmas after her application for bail was successful on Friday in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

The single mother appeared in Toowoomba Magistrates Court last week after being arrested for stealing two sunglasses from a store at Grand Central shopping centre.

Police also found diazepam - sold as Valium - in her possession.

At the time of her arrest Ward was on a 12-month probation order which she entered into in July.

Mr Shemioneck said, when refusing bail on December 6, he was not convinced Ward would not reoffend.

Justice Peter Applegarth took less than two minutes to grant Ward's freedom in one of the state's highest courts.

"Her continued incarceration is certainly not justified given the minor nature of the charges and her age," he said.

"She has shown enough cause as to satisfy me that her continued incarceration is in any way justified."

Ward is due to appear before Toowoomba Magistrates Court again on January 24.



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