Stolen chicken was hidden down pants
A CRAVING for chicken schnitzel landed Joshua Thomas Riedl in front of the Kingaroy Magistrates Court yesterday.
The 32-year-old pleaded guilty to six charges including having a protected animal without a licence, and stealing.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Wayne Bushell told the court police found an eastern blue tongue lizard in a small fish tank at Riedl's home when they conducted a search warrant relating to another matter.
"The lizard was well looked after with clean water and plenty of food," Sgt Bushell said.
"But the defendant was not in possession of a licence."
Sgt Bushell said on a separate occasion Riedl entered the Kingaroy IGA, ordered four chicken schnitzels from the deli, placed them in the front of his pants and left without paying.
"The defendant was a passenger in a vehicle which was pulled over for a random breath test," he said.
"When asked about the schnitzels (Riedl) said he didn't have money to pay for them."
Riedl's solicitor Mark Werner told Magistrate Mark Bucknall his client suffered from schizophrenia and had a hard time keeping track of days, and as a result was on a disability pension.
Mr Werner said his client was living with a carer on an isolated property with little food and water.
"With the chicken schnitzels it was a case that my client was simply hungry but didn't have money to pay for them," he said.
"On the charge of having the lizard without a licence my client wasn't aware what he had in his possession but simply wanted to protect it from a dog attack."
Mr Bucknall said the charges alone were not concerning, but coupled with Riedl's lengthy criminal history it was worrying.
In sentencing, Mr Bucknall said he took into account Riedl's mental health condition and placed him on six months probation, fined him $300 and recorded a conviction.