The Court of Appeal (Justice Priest, Justice Beach and Justice Hargrave) today unanimously dismissed an appeal brought against a sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 3 years for armed robbery and theft.

The appellant, along with two co-offenders, travelled in a stolen car to a Dan Murphy’s liquor store, where the appellant — armed with a knife — entered the store and approached the cash registers while a co-offender stood guarding the door armed with a machete. The appellant waved his knife in a menacing way, demanding the contents of the till and making threats of violence if he did not get the money more quickly. He was handed a cash drawer containing $1,052.35 and fled the premises. This offending ‘obviously terrorised’ the customers and employees present.

The appellant was sentenced after participation in a sentencing conversation as part of the Koori Court process in the County Court. The appellant had argued that his sentence was ‘manifestly excessive’, having regard to his young age of 24, tragic personal history, Aboriginality, and his involvement in the Koori Court process.

The appellant had a long list of prior convictions for stealing, including two previous armed robberies. He had also previously participated in a sentencing conversation in the Koori Court when being sentenced for the most recent of these armed robberies.

The Court set out the factors that a Koori Court judge should consider when determining what weight to attach to an offender’s participation in the sentencing conversation, and held that in this case the sentence imposed was lenient considering the appellant’s criminal history and recidivism despite previous participation in the Koori Court process. The Court held that ‘the leniency of the sentence imposed on the appellant can only be explained by the sentencing judge having given full weight to the matters urged in mitigation; and in particular, his deprived background and participation in the sentencing conversation’. The sentence was not, therefore, manifestly excessive.

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NOTE: This summary is necessarily incomplete. It is not intended as a substitute for the Court’s reasons or to be used in any later consideration of the Court’s reasons. The only authoritative pronouncement of the Court’s reasons and conclusions is that contained in the published reasons for judgment.

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Author
Supreme Court of Victoria
Publisher
Supreme Court of Victoria
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