Ex-chief of dog training club jailed

THE former president of a Launceston club has swapped the dog house for the big house after stealing $10,000 from the organisation to play the pokies.

West Launceston's Shane Alfred Baker headed the Tasmanian Dog Training Club until stepping down in late 2011.

During that time Baker, 50, lived with his partner and club treasurer Sean Boatwright, Launceston's Supreme Court heard yesterday.

The court heard Mr Boatwright kept the club's money at home and it was routinely accessed by Baker, who sometimes discussed it with his partner or left IOU notes.

An audit of the club's finances in January 2012 found there was a shortfall of nearly $30,000.

Baker admitted to police that he had stolen $10,000 of it for personal expenses such as cigarettes and gambling at Country Club Tasmania's casino.

Justice Robert Pearce said the problem gambler had breached the club members' trust and showed "callous disregard of the effort required by members to generate funds of that amount".

"It was accompanied by what could only have been a deliberate failure on the part of the defendant and his partner to properly account to the club committee by preparing financial reports," he said.

Mr Boatwright is not facing any charges and is not accused of any wrongdoing.

Last month Justice Pearce was asked to adjourn sentencing to allow Baker to make good on a promise to repay the club $10,000 from his superannuation within a fortnight.

However, yesterday the court heard that Baker had failed to make the repayment.

Justice Pearce said such crimes were "easy to commit and hard to detect" and frequently attracted prison terms.

He sentenced Baker to three months' jail and made a compensation order for the club to be determined at a later date.

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