Trainee panel beater takes off with luxury car for joy ride
An aspiring panel beater has failed a work trial in spectacular fashion, helping himself to a customer's luxury European car for the weekend.
The Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday heard Jeffrey We Ho had been offered a day trial at a smash repairs in Archerfield in January.
Ho was tasked with moving cars around the workshop including a black Audi sedan which he parked on the street.
Police prosecutor Maria Gittins said the business owner noticed Ho had disappeared prior to the day's end along with the Audi.
Attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.
A few days later the car reappeared in front of the business and the keys had been thrown over the fence.
When he was arrested by police in April, Ho admitted taking the car to the shops to buy some food when it broke down, the court heard.
He then repaired it and returned it to the business three days later.
Ms Gittins said Ho did not explain why he failed to contact the business in the interim.
"The offending represents a gross breach of trust, the informant was prepared to offer the defendant an opportunity of potential employment within his business," she said.
"The defendant has gratuitously taken advantage of that trust placed in him using the vehicle for his own enjoyment over the three day period."
The Legal Commission duty lawyer who represented Ho, who pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a motor vehicle, said her client had been suffering problems with alcohol at the time.
She reiterated Ho's claims that the car had broken down on the way to the shops.
"He arranged for a friend to come and fix the fuel pump which was the reason that he couldn't get it back to the smash repairs," she said.
"He dropped it back to the business with this fixed on the Sunday night and threw keys over the fence."
Magistrate Anthony Gett said he was sceptical of the story.
"I don't put much stock in what you say that after going for a drive to get something to eat you just couldn't simply walk back and tell the owner," he said.
"It seems it was quite deliberate, in my view, that you didn't inform the panel beating business earlier of the problem with the car."
He sentenced Ho to 70 hours of unpaid community service and recorded a conviction.
Originally published as Trainee panel beater takes off with luxury car for 3-day joy ride