Cairns primary school principal pleads guilty to credit card fraud

A CAIRNS primary school principal will likely lose his job and face an early end to his career after being found liable by a court of fraudulent spending with a taxpayer-fundedCREDIT CARD.

Wayne Garry Kirk, who is suspended from his position as principal of Parramatta State School, was fined $2000 after pleading guilty to dishonest use of a Department of EducationCREDIT CARD.

Kirk, 48, admitted during a Cairns Magistrates Court sentencing yesterday to spending just under $1000 of the school’s money for personal reasons, including paying forFLIGHTSfor his family.

The court heard he alsoBOOKED A FLIGHT to Brisbane to attend a job interview at a private school but paid the money back soon after.

At sentencing, Kirk still owed $465 and was ordered to pay full restitution to the school, which he said he intended to do immediately.

Police prosecutor Troy Sutton said theCREDIT CARD used by Kirk was meant to be used only for expenses of the school, which the department had listed as a “low socio-economic” institution.

“It is an offence of dishonesty – an act whereby he has dishonestly applied money belonging to the ­Department of Education to his own use,” he said.

“Future employers, in my submission, should be aware of that by virtue of a conviction being recorded.”

However, Magistrate Richard Lehmann chose not to record a conviction, noting Kirk’s otherwise clean criminal record and the evidence of remorse outlined in colleagues’ references.

Defence barrister Joshua Trevino said Kirk, who had worked for the department for 25 years, mostly in Far North Queensland, was highly-regarded at PSS.

“He has been an effective school principal,” Mr Trevino said.

“His supervisor, at the time, notes that he was a competent manager in terms of teaching and learning, he was a competent principal, but that he was not the greatestFINANCIALmanager.”

Mr Trevino said his client had been paid bonuses for his performance as a principal but would likely lose his job and possibly his career with the department.

Kirk was stood down and asked not to attend the school or make contact with any staff after he was charged earlier this year.

The Department of Education has declined to comment, saying Kirk still had the option of appealing the court’s decision.


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