A Heathcote teenager who held up four people at knife point in Bendigo’s CBD will undertake a two-year community corrections order and 300 hours of community work, after a judge determined his rehabilitation prospects were positive.
Sahil Krishna, 19, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo County Court on Wednesday to two charges of armed robbery and two charges of attempted armed robbery.
The court heard a woman and her friend were sitting in Rosalind Park about 10.30pm on November 21 last year when Krishna and another male, wearing facial coverings up to their eyes, approached with knives and took the woman’s handbag. It was found the next day with $5 missing.
About 10.15pm on November 28, a man was walking in Rosalind Park with headphones on when he was confronted by Krishna and others.
Demands were made for the man’s wallet and when he said he did not have anything, his phone was taken.
About 12.10am on November 29, a 14-year-old girl was in Mitchell Street talking on the phone when Krishna and others approached her. Krishna held a knife towards her.
The girl’s friend heard the incident over the phone, and she and her parents picked the girl up and took her to the police station.
Shortly afterwards, a man was walking along Hargreaves Street carrying bags of groceries and saw three people standing outside a cafe.
He turned onto Short Street when he turned and saw three people – one of whom was Krishna – behind him, their faces covered.
The man saw a knife and was told “Give me all your bags or I’ll stab you”, before he fled towards acquaintances standing in Queen Street.
Krishna was soon caught be police patrolling the area, and knives were found at the base of a tree in Hargreaves Street.
He admitted his involvement in the offences.
Defence counsel Robert Timms yesterday told the court there was serious conflict in the family home while Krishna was in Year 12 and he moved out, becoming essentially homeless for some time.
A psychologist’s report tendered to the court said Krishna was worried about being able to buy food prior to the offences.
Krishna had used cannabis and once he moved out of home this increased, Mr Timms said, as did his abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs.
Mr Timms said his client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and displayed genuine remorse for his actions.
The court heard Krishna, who had been on bail since his arrest, had participated in a supervised bail program and the Second Chance program, an initiative to engage young people before the courts in work.
Second Chance worker Chris Moore described Krishna in a report as a responsible young man.
“He hasn’t forgiven himself for what he’s done, and he’s quite mortified by it,” he said.
Another report on Krishna’s supervised bail progress described him as “polite and courteous” with a positive attitude to remaining offence-free.
Mr Timms urged the court to consider a community corrections order, and Crown prosecutor Anne Hassan agreed this was within range.
In sentencing Krishna, Judge Lisa Hannan said she thought his prospects of rehabilitation would largely be influenced by his ability to remain substance-free, but overall regarded them as positive.
She took into account the fact he was a young offender and had made satisfactory efforts towards rehabilitation.
As conditions of the two-year community corrections order, Krishna must engage with alcohol and drug rehabilitation, and programs to reduce re-offending.
He will also be under the supervision of a corrections officer and has to pay $369 in compensation.
Judge Hannan said it took careful consideration to come to her decision and issued a stern warning to Krishna about the consequences he would face if he were to breach the order.
“One breach is like holding your hand up and saying ‘Send me to jail’ – and I will,” she said.
If not for his guilty plea, Judge Hannan would have sentenced Krishna to two years and six months’ imprisonment.
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