A prisoner has appealed his sentence for submitting fake tax returns.
A prisoner has appealed his sentence for submitting fake tax returns. Mike Knott

Prisoner appeals sentence for fradulent tax returns

A ROCKHAMPTON prisoner, who submitted tax returns using false names to net about $54,000, has appealed the ambiguity of his Commonwealth sentence.

Rodney Edward Knight was already serving a 9.5-year jail sentence for a violent armed robbery at KFC in Gladstone in 2006 and "one last kamikaze spree" from Bundaberg to the Sunshine Coast in 2008, knowing imprisonment was imminent.

The latter involved stealing a car from a vulnerable 80-year-old's house in Bundaberg and a police chase through the suburban streets of Caloundra where he ran three red lights, reached 90kmh in 50 and 60kmh zones and had police pursuing him at up to 150kmh on the Bruce Hwy.

In 1997, Knight was sentenced to five years in jail, suspended after 18 months, for entering a pharmacy in Bundaberg.

He also has a host of other robbery charges on his rap sheet.

Barrister John McInnes withdrew an appeal ground that Mr Knight's three-year sentence for the fake tax returns was manifestly excessive, submitting to the Queensland Court of Appeal in Brisbane on Thursday that there was an error of law in the sentencing.

He said the sentence should have begun when the order was made because the wording, stating it should begin at the "expiration of incarceration", was clumsy and confusing.

The court heard the effect of wording could result in Mr Knight's incarceration for 12.5 years, in total, depending on how authorities interpreted the meaning.

Authorities could infer Mr Knight's tax return sentence, which includes 12 months actual custody, must begin upon his release on parole from the robbery and driving offences or at his full-time release date from those.

But there were concerns about whether the parole board would or could grant parole knowing he still had a cumulative sentence to serve.

Further discussion ensued about whether the board would grant even parole at all given Mr Knight's lengthy and violent criminal history, and his re-offending while in jail.

The Crown said this was the first time such an order had been made after a prisoner's parole eligibility date had passed so no one had ever had a problem with the wording before.

The appeal court justices have reserved their decision.
 



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