A man who once helped train a Melbourne Cup winner has been jailed after forcing his way into the home of a long-time acquaintance and former workmate, assaulting him in front of his partner and young daughter, kidnapping him, and stealing his car and wallet.
Mark Dosen, 40, pleaded guilty in the Melbourne County Court to 15 charges, including aggravated burglary, kidnapping, theft, common assault, and blackmail, among others.
The victim had helped Dosen gain employment at Mount Macedon horse training facility Macedon Lodge in 2004.
Dosen helped train the 2007 Melbourne Cup winner, but in late 2009, the owner of the facility terminated Dosen’s employment and asked the victim to inform Dosen of his decision.
He received his basic entitlements and five months’ wages after tax, a sum of more than $27,000.
Dosen and the victim remained on good terms and saw each other numerous times in 2010, but the frequency of contact began to decline, and the time of the offences they had not seen each other in years.
Then, on the afternoon of Sunday, June 19 2016, Dosen drove to the victim’s house, wearing a wig.
He entered through a rear door and took a set of car keys and the victim’s wallet, then walked to the lounge room where the victim was watching television with his fiancee and five-year-old daughter.
Dosen told the victim to “F***ing get outside” before punching him in the face.
When the victim’s fiancee tried to call triple zero, he chased her around the room and grabbed the phone from her.
Dosen forced the victim into the kitchen and hit him several times in the face.
He told the victim he was there for cash, and told him he would “destroy” him and “f***ing light [him] up”.
“You’re taking me to a bank,” he told the victim, before making him go outside and demanding $20,000 cash. On the way out of the house, Dosen took a portable hard drive.
Dosen told the victim he and others at Macedon Lodge had mistreated him while he worked there.
After hitting the victim in the shoulder and head with a belt, and kicking him, Dosen forced the victim to get in the car.
The victim began driving towards Gisborne with Dosen, and when they passed Macedon Lodge, Dosen told the victim he would kill him and continued to demand $20,000.
When the victim saw a police car – which was responding to his fiancee’s call for help – he stopped, as did the police vehicle.
The victim got out of the car and ran towards the police car, and when an officer approached the victim’s vehicle, Dosen moved into the driver’s seat and drove away.
In Bacchus Marsh, Dosen used the victim’s credit card to buy more than $2000 worth of goods at a petrol station, including purchases for other customers.
The following morning, Dosen withdrew $6000 from a bank in Ballarat East, using the victim’s doctored licence as identification, and spent almost $2000 in three stores.
He had put his own photo over the victim’s photo on the licence.
Later, he unsuccessfully tried to deposit $20,000 into his account using the victim’s cheque book.
He stayed in accommodation using the doctored licence and paid using the victim’s credit card.
The next day he returned to Ballarat East and tried to withdraw $20,000, but the bank teller had been alerted he might return, so she asked him to wait while locks were activated and the police were called.
In August 2016, the victim received a letter from Dosen, who threatened to contact the media with an allegation of a positive drug test of a horse if the victim did not withdraw his statement, and claimed he was owed money from the Melbourne Cup win.
Judge Grant sentenced Dosen to eight years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of six years. Dosen had already served 773 days in custody.
In sentencing, Judge Paul Grant noted the impact on Dosen’s victims.
“The victims have been profoundly affected by your criminal behaviour. In addition to the physical injuries he sustained, [the victim] has suffered significant emotional harm. So have his wife and daughter,” he said, adding they no longer felt safe in their own home and were forced to move.
He said Dosen did not plead guilty early and took some time to accept responsibility.
He also took into account Dosen’s prior convictions: he had already served time in prison for several offences, including aggravated burglary, arson, criminal damage, making a bomb hoax, and theft.
“Your prior history… explains why I’m very guarded about your prospects for rehabilitation,” Judge Grant said.
He recognised Dosen’s dysfunctional upbringing, his low education level and problems with drugs and alcohol, but said Dosen knew what he was doing at the time of the offences.
“Whilst I accept you were abusing drugs at the time of the offending and that your thought processes may have been compromised to some extent as a consequence, I’m also satisfied beyond doubt that you had an understanding of what you were doing, and had a level of insight into your behaviour,” Judge Grant said.
All licences were also cancelled and disqualified for two years.
Maximum sentences for Dosen’s offences range from five years’ to 25 years’ imprisonment.