The previous common supervisor of Australia’s largest First Nations media group has been jailed for stealing $130,000 value of kit, which he then resold or saved for himself.

Robert Mitchell, 39, final week pleaded responsible within the Northern Territory Supreme Courtroom for the conduct, which occurred throughout his time working on the Alice Springs-based Central Australian Media Affiliation (CAAMA).

The courtroom heard Mitchell had labored his means up the ranks in the organisation after being head-hunted by the Aboriginal-owned broadcaster in 2011.

The theft passed off over two years, beginning in mid-2018, with Mitchell utilizing firm bank cards or financial institution accounts to buy tools that he then saved in two vans that he parked away from his house.

Among the stolen gadgets had been resold on on-line market eBay utilizing his private account, nevertheless, the vendor’s charge was paid for out of CAAMA’s purse.

The courtroom heard Mitchell fraudulently bought round 100 items of kit in whole, with CAAMA’s monetary place deteriorating whereas the theft was going down.

The broadcaster was positioned into particular administration in March 2020.

A newly appointed chief govt then suggested Mitchell that his contract wouldn’t be renewed, along with his employment as a result of finish in June that yr.

CAAMA Building
Mitchell stole a complete of about 100 gadgets from his former office. (ABC Information: Jennetta Quinn-Bates)

In August 2020, NT Police executed the primary of a collection of search warrants on Mitchell’s house and the premises the place he saved the vans.

They uncovered many of the gadgets that had been reported stolen, in addition to gear that was bought from a musical instrument store utilizing firm funds.

Offending damaging to ‘most disenfranchised communities’

In a sufferer influence assertion to the courtroom, CAAMA’s present chief govt Sonya De Masi stated Mitchell had “contributed on to the demise” of the long-running organisation, and that his actions had been “to the detriment of a few of Australia’s most disenfranchised communities”.

CAAMA was established within the Nineteen Eighties as Australia’s first Aboriginal radio stations, and has since expanded to 12 distant broadcast studios that attain Indigenous communities throughout the nation.

The courtroom additionally heard that Mitchell had expressed regret for his actions, and had contributed to “the planning and supply of many worthwhile tasks” whereas employed at CAAMA.

Mitchell was given a head sentence of 1 yr and 9 months, to be suspended after three months in jail.

The exterior of the Alice Springs courthouse, with blue sky in the background.
Chief Justice Michael Grant stated Mitchell abused his place of belief and authority at CAAMA. (ABC Information: Hamish Harty)

Motivated by ‘greed and private monetary achieve’

In sentencing, Chief Justice Michael Grant stated Mitchell’s offending was repetitive and had occurred over an prolonged time frame.

He stated Mitchell would “little question” have continued the fraud had an administrator not been appointed earlier.

“You had been ready of each belief and authority inside the affiliation … You abused that belief and authority to facilitate your legal conduct,” he stated.

“Your offending concerned a big diploma of planning, sophistication, subterfuge and premeditation.”

The chief justice stated there was no obvious motivation for the thefts past “greed and private monetary achieve”.

Mitchell was sentenced on the idea that the worth of the stolen tools was $40,000, which his lawyer argued can be the quantity he would get for promoting the gadgets second-hand.

Supply By