A PAROLEE accused of stealing cash and bank cards from a 58-year-old man while he was suffering a stroke at Mount Hutton on Tuesday claims he was being a "Good Samaritan" and only intended to help the man.
But police say Michael Moroney-Paine, 29, of Windale, is an opportunistic thief who first came to the man's assistance and called triple-zero before emptying his wallet and fleeing the scene.
Mr Moroney-Paine, who the court heard was currently on parole and serving an intensive corrections order for charges including dishonesty offences, was represented by solicitor Matt Unwin when he appeared in Belmont Local Court on Friday via audio visual link from the Newcastle courthouse cells.
He pleaded not guilty to larceny, escaping police custody and resisting arrest and applied for bail .
Mr Unwin told Magistrate Sharron Crews that Mr Moroney-Paine did not deny that he reached into the man's car while he was on the ground and grabbed his wallet but said he did that to put the wallet in the man's pocket so he had it with him while in the ambulance and in hospital.
"The circumstances were that he was acting as a Good Samaritan," Mr Unwin said. "He did that without any adverse effects to the man and unfortunately something has gone missing in terms of the contents of the wallet for which he cannot explain."
Mr Unwin said Mr Moroney-Paine did not take any items from the wallet and said there was an opportunity, after he had put the wallet into the man's pocket and before it was locked into the man's car, for someone else to have stolen the cash and cards.
The police provide a different version and say Mr Moroney-Paine can be clearly seen on CCTV footage going into the man's car and grabbing his wallet and later putting it back.
They say that the footage shows Mr Moroney-Paine was the only person with the wallet and when the stroke victim's wife returned to the car park the next day she found the car locked and the wallet inside minus the man's cash and cards.
With Mr Moroney-Paine on parole and serving an intensive corrections order, the fate of his freedom rested entirely on that crucial portion of CCTV footage, but the entirety of the footage was unavailable to be viewed on Friday and Ms Crews said, without evidence to the contrary, she had no choice but to find it was a strong prosecution case.
Mr Moroney-Paine became angry and briefly left the AVL suite as Ms Crews denied the bail application.