A childless 26-year-old is accused of walking into a supermarket, taking tins of baby formula, then telling staff who asked to check his bags that he was “in a rush” when he left without paying.
According to court documents, student Zachery Norton went into Coles in the Belconnen Mall after 8:00 pm on 28 July 2021.
The Garran man allegedly put 24 tins of baby formula – valued at $894 – into a number of bags sitting in his trolley.
Police arrested Mr Norton at a home in Garran the next day. Afterwards, they saw a car parked outside the home that allegedly had a large bag containing seven tins of baby formula sitting on the backseat.
When he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday (30 July), a seemingly puzzled Magistrate Glenn Theakston asked Legal Aid lawyer Solitaire Zahnleiter if her client had a child, or if there was some other reason that he might require baby formula.
“No,” she replied.
Ms Zahnleiter told the court Mr Norton had an ongoing issue with illicit substances, but he recognised that he needed assistance with his drug problems.
She said if he was remanded in custody then that would disadvantage his ability to rehabilitate.
But prosecutor Crystal Holt alleged no bail conditions could ameliorate his “ongoing urges to steal”.
Despite having some concerns, including saying that his risk of reoffending was “real”, Magistrate Theakston granted bail.
But he said he hoped this would be a turning point for Mr Norton.
He imposed strict bail conditions, including an overnight curfew and a direction to live with his mother in Garran.
Mr Norton will appear in court on 12 August to enter a plea to a charge of minor theft.