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Melbourne bar manager pocketed $326,000, then buried it, court told

County Court Judge Fran Dalziel said it was Markworth’s job to record nightly takings and that over the 11 months he declared 7800 cash transactions void and kept $326,689 cash.

He resigned when his offending was discovered, but later returned to the office with a bag of wet cash, and claimed the money was wet because it had been buried. But he paid it all back, with interest.

Markworth, 36, was spared jail on Thursday when Judge Dalziel found it was likely he was suffering serious mental health problems at the time of his offending. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2018.

“I accept on the balance of probabilities that you were suffering from some degree of impaired mental functioning at the time of the commission of these offences,” Judge Dalziel said.

“I therefore accept your ability to exercise appropriate judgment and make calm and rational choices was impaired by some degree.”

When confronted about the void transactions by Arbory management, Markworth claimed he used the cash to pay suppliers who hadn’t provided invoices.

He also claimed he’d been instructed to keep takings lower than what they were so Metro Trains wouldn’t charge the bar as much rent. Both excuses were false.

The outdoor area at Arbory Bar & Eatery on the Yarra River.

The outdoor area at Arbory Bar & Eatery on the Yarra River.Credit:Wayne Taylor

Soon after, he admitted he took the money out of stress over a personal failed business venture and resigned from Arbory. He wasn’t charged until 2018 and pleaded guilty to obtaining property by deception and two counts of theft.

Judge Dalziel said Markworth’s mental health problems included delusions and hallucinations and a prison term would weigh heavily.

Although his offending was serious, the judge accepted Markworth was remorseful and ashamed, but was getting mental health treatment, had family support and excellent prospects for rehabilitation. She acknowledged he had paid all the money back.

Markworth must serve a two-year community correction order comprising 250 hours of unpaid work. Judge Dalziel said she would have jailed him had he pleaded not guilty and been found guilty at trial.

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