Roberta Williams' sister avoids jail time

Christine McGinn
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MICHELLE KAYE MERCIECA COURT

Michelle Kaye Mercieca has avoided going to jail for stealing luggage at Melbourne Airport

The sister of gangland window Roberta Williams has dodged jail time after pleading guilty to stealing almost $24,000 worth of luggage at Melbourne Airport.

Michelle Kaye Mercieca, 52, appeared in Broadmeadows Magistrates Court on Monday over 10 charges relating to the theft of luggage at the airport on seven days between October 7, 2017 and September 5, 2018.

Mercieca stole 10 pieces of luggage from the baggage carousels of interstate flights arriving in Melbourne. The total value was $23,978.24.

One of her thefts was the bag of a Victorian police officer arriving on a Virgin Australia flight from Canberra, which contained a laptop with a value of $2625 on October 10, 2017.

Three days earlier, she took a guitar in its case from the oversized luggage area after a Jetstar flight from Brisbane and another suitcase worth $5055.

She also stole from customers travelling with Qantas. Mercieca was caught on CCTV taking the luggage and her car was seen in the car park.

She pleaded guilty after being given a sentencing indication of a community corrections order - rather than jail - and nine theft charges were withdrawn.

"As you indicated those offences are dishonest. They were planned and would have led to significant distress and anxiety to the members of the public who did lose their luggage," Magistrate Timothy Hoare said in sentencing.

Mercieca has been placed on a 12-month community corrections order and must complete 100 hours of volunteer work.

She has been ordered to repay Qantas $2381.35 after they paid out claims to two customers.

"Had you pleaded not guilty and run a contested hearing... I would have imprisoned you for these offences. But you have acceptable responsibility, you are remorseful and I take that into account," Mr Hoare said.

Mercieca told the court earlier in the day that she'd dumped her lawyer.

"My barrister isn't here. I feel I have been misrepresented, coerced," she said while representing herself.

Mercieca cried as the magistrate handed down his sentence. She told reporters outside court after her sentencing that she understood her victims' pain.

"For people that it happens to, of course I would have empathy for them," she said.