License article

Magistrate apologises for court's leniency to repeat offender

A magistrate has apologised for the weakness of his fellow magistrates, saying he was "disgusted" after finding a man on break-and-enter charges had been allowed bail on eight separate occasions.

"I'll start off by apologising to you for the weakness of other magistrates in letting you out for bail for these other offences," the magistrate Les Brennan said when considering the case of 19-year-old Zach Clifton from St Marys.

"If they hadn't let you out, you wouldn't be here today.

"You need to grow up. Unfortunately jail isn't the best place for you to grow up, but it means we can all have a rest."

Clifton was out on bail when he allegedly broke into a golf course and construction site on Friday morning with two others.

He was charged with two counts of aggravated break and enter and committing serious indictable offence in company when he was arrested with Justin McKenna and Blake Ward, who faced the same charges.


It is alleged that over the course of an hour and twenty minutes, the trio broke into a construction site office at Marsden Park, then travelled to the Stonecutters Ridge golf course in Colebee where they broke into a canteen.

On reading the first page of facts, Mr Brennan stopped, agape, in the Parramatta bail court.

"He's on eight, I repeat, eight lots of bail," he said, listing matters that ranged from break and enter, property offences, and bonds related to driving and drugs.

"I'm disgusted he's been out on eight counts of bail."

Appearing via video link one after the other, Mr McKenna, 22, was granted conditional bail with a warning he was skating on thin ice, while Mr Ward, also 22, was remanded in custody. 

But the most severe comments were reserved for Clifton, whose mother sat sobbing in court.

The group will face Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday.