By KIERAN FINNANE
It’s been a long time coming – three years – but there was only partial satisfaction for victims when Randal Carey was sentenced to gaol this morning.
“He’s got three years, we’re reasonably happy with that,” said Alan Fisher, as he and partner Denyse Thornton left the court. He said they were also “reasonably happy” with the compensation order – $5000 per victim couple.
Ms Thornton though, close to tears, said there was no emotional release: “We’ve lost so much money, you can never replace it, you can’t save it ever again, it will affect us for the rest of our lives.”
They paid Randal Carey a total of $240,000 for work valued at $135,850 by a quantity surveyor. They had to raise an additional $180,000 over the $400,000 they had borrowed originally.
“We definitely had a major loss,” said Mr Fisher in his understated way. “We’ll see where we go from there.”
“At least he’s away for 12 months, that’s one good thing, I wanted to see some sort of custodial sentence for sure,” said Ms Thornton. “The big thing is he’s 62, well I’m 63. Regardless of his age, he should be punished appropriately.”
“The Court has gone a long way to do that for us,” said Mr Fisher.
What do they hope from any further investigation into this matter?
“It’s dependent on the police investigation, what evidence or information [Randal Carey] gives them. We’ll just have to wait and see what the police investigation is.”
They haven’t talked to other victims in a long time, but “we’ll have to think about it now”, said Ms Thornton.
Trent and Amanda Abbott (at left, with Ruby, 2, and Ashton, 4) are also waiting to hear about the further police investigation and intending to get together with other victims “as a group and see what we can do as a group. We might be able to do something”.
They were interested in hearing the chronology of events in the court. Their slab wasn’t laid to September 2009 – quite late in the unravelling.
“We probably could have gotten out of the contract [had they been informed that Mr Carey was unlicensed and unregistered]. We might have lost a little bit of money but it wouldn’t have been $210,000,” said Mr Abbott.
Mrs Abbott was clearly frustrated by Mr Carey’s sentence: “It’s been three years of hell for us. He’s lived his life, continued to earn money, we’ve continued to lose money in order to finish a house we can no longer keep. So a year for us is nothing.”
Mr Abbott said there was some closure: “There’ve been three or four trials set, they’ve all been postponed, every time a trial comes up you stress out a bit. It’s finished in the courts, apart from him paying his restitution, so we can move on a little bit.
“The punishment doesn’t fit the crime, that’s my belief. But even if he’d been given 10 years it wouldn’t have helped us financially.”
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By KIERAN FINNANE