A lawyer for a 20-year-old who stole a car and abandoned it in Ballarat has told a court his client didn't know he was stealing it. James Turner appeared in the Ballarat Magistrates' Court via video link, where he pleaded guilty to stealing a car, driving whilst disqualified and theft of petrol on December 5, 2023. According to a police summary, shortly after a victim parked their car in Ballarat on July 2, 2023, Turner entered the vehicle and drove off. He was then caught on CCTV while filling the car up with petrol at the APCO service station on Skipton Street. The next day, the car worth $3500, was found abandoned in Golden Point. On August 1, 2023, Turner was again caught on CCTV at BP Warrenheip filling up a car with $38 of fuel before leaving without paying. After being arrested, Turner admitted to being in the service station, but denied stealing the Camry, and said he didn't know why his fingerprints were in the vehicle. Turner, who was serving a community corrections order at the time of the offences, admitted to not having a license but said he thought he wasn't disqualified from driving. Defence lawyer Adrian Paull said his client was given the keys to the car by someone else and took it from a driveway without knowing he was stealing the vehicle. "He took the car and should have made more enquiries," he said. Mr Paull said Turner had suffered a serious motorcycle accident where he was hit by a car while exiting a driveway. He said the 20-year-old's leg was crushed in the accident, and he had spent eight weeks in hospital and was currently unable to walk. Because of this, Mr Paull said it would be difficult to sentence Turner, who was about to embark on "gradual and slow" rehabilitation after further surgery. The police prosecutor described Turner's behaviour as an "act of stupidity" and said a substantial fine would be appropriate in the circumstances. Magistrate Michelle Mykytowycz said for many people their car is their most valuable asset, and can have a serious effect on their lives if stolen. "I accept that life has intervened for you at the moment and you're physically in a position where you have a long road ahead of you," she said. "It leads me to a difficult position because theft of motor vehicle is serious. "Even the prosecutor said it sounds like an act of stupidity, but you stole a car ... it's a serious offence." Turner was fined $2200, and Magistrate Mykytowycz said she would have considered sentencing him to a CCO had the circumstances been different.