A judge has given a stern warning to a man who held up a person at knifepoint that he faces a significant prison sentence if caught doing wrong again.
Scott Russell, 23, pleaded guilty in the County Court in Bendigo to attempted armed robbery.
Judge Michael McInerney sentenced Russell to three months’ jail on top of the 118 days he had already served, to be followed with a two-year community corrections order which would include drug, alcohol and mental health treatment, programs to prevent reoffending, and supervision.
Russell approached a man in a supermarket car park, armed with what appeared to be a steak knife, and demanded his car keys.
The victim refused, but again Russell made demands.
Russell grabbed the man by his shirt and punched him, but the man did not sustain any serious injuries.
Judge Michael McInerney noted CCTV footage of the incident showed the man was “pretty brave” during an encounter that lasted three to four minutes.
A number of people went to the man’s assistance.
Judge McInerney said Russell was seen that night in a bottle shop behaving in a “most irrational manner”, and he also used a trolley to hit an employee’s car.
In his police interview, Russell said he argued with his partner and consumed homemade bourbon that day.
“Whatever the reason, the only way you can describe these events are bizarre and very, very dangerous,” Judge McInerney said.
In sentencing, Judge McInerney noted Russell had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and had been subjected to violence when younger.
He said Russell had a significant criminal history, although no prior convictions for violence.
Russell was assessed as being at high risk of reoffending.
Judge McInerney said there was no dispute between the prosecution and defence that the seriousness of the offending warranted a jail term.
“In my view, there is more jail time required to bring the right balance, however I do accept… that at this time in your life, a combined sentence… may well be an opportunity to see if we can trust you and trust your alleged intent,” he said.
Judge McInerney said he would give Russell a “very significant sentence” if he breached the community corrections order.
He warned Russell he was at a crisis point in his life, and said he had the choice of giving up drugs or spending his life in prison, or even dying.
Had Russell not pleaded guilty, Judge McInerney said, he would have been sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment and a community corrections order.
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