T-shirt bandits ringleader Jack McLean admits he sent Wodonga County Court a letter of lies

Jack McLean

Jack McLean

The leader of a family gang of thieves has admitted he lied to a judge in an effort to get a more lenient sentence.

Wodonga’s T-shirt bandits ringleader Jack McLean appeared in Wodonga Magistrates’ Court via video link this week where he pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He is serving a 21-month jail sentence for his role in a series of burglaries and thefts targeting homes and small businesses in the North East.

McLean tried to have that reduced during a County Court hearing last year by sending a handwritten letter to Judge Marilyn Harbison claiming he had been on 23-hour lockdown in his cell while on remand.

In reality, he had 11-and-a-half hours a day free to walk the prison as a cleaner.

Barrister Stephanie Wallace applied to have the new charge heard in Melbourne, away from the spotlight of Wodonga, saying McLean was in custody in the city and his lawyers worked there.

Magistrate Stella Stuthridge rejected the application, noting McLean would actually be back in Wodonga by the time the case was heard as he was due for release in August 10.

He was granted bail on the pending charge, to live with his grandmother in Wodonga, and will have to start a three-year community corrections order when released.

The next Wodonga County Court circuit begins at the end of the month, but the case would be delayed further if it was moved to Melbourne. 

“We have a great County Court here, why would he want to go to Melbourne?” Ms Stuthridge said.

“For Mr McLean, there’ll be some really good advantages to being in the next circuit … I have no doubt you’re looking forward to your release.”