A man’s claim that his dementia-afflicted mum would have approved him taking $9000 from her account has been rejected.
Magistrate Rodney Brender told Antony Liggitt there was no possibility that his mother could give informed consent.
“I don’t accept he couldn’t believe his mother was capable of giving him (her approval) as she had advanced dementia,” he said in handing down his decision in Albury Local Court this week.
Mr Brender said he was “quite satisfied” that Liggitt could not have formed the view he was entitled to withdraw the money from Margaret Liggitt’s account.
He had reserved his decision on the case for over a week as he wished to carefully consider the findings of a hearing before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal that handed sole control of Ms Liggitt’s finances to a relative, Michelle Wells.
Liggitt, who fronted court wearing black cargo pants, thongs and a long beard, showed no reaction when Mr Brender found him guilty of the nine counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.
The court previously heard that Ms Liggitt was living in a Wodonga nursing home when her son, now 52, took her bank card and made nine withdrawals at ANZ branches in Lavington and Albury.
Liggitt took $1000 amounts between May 16 and 28, some five months before Ms Liggitt died at the age of 80.
The withdrawals were reported to police.
While admitting he took the money he claimed his mother “insisted” he do so, which left him feeling entitled to the cash.
He said she had told him to take “all of it” after he told her he’d fallen on hard times, and said she had handed over the card and her pin number.
But evidence from Ms Wells poured doubt on that.
She said Ms Liggitt had been “quite incoherent” at the time, was known to “babble” and her dementia was so advanced that she could not undergo a mental capacity test.
Mr Brender told Liggitt that finding the offence proved put him in breach of a good behaviour bond.
With that he ordered a sentence assessment report, adjourning the case to February 13.
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