A man who was only days away from finishing his jail term will spend at least another six months locked up, after a judge increased his sentence on appeal.
Paul Pratt was convicted and sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court in January to six months' imprisonment and a 12-month community corrections order after pleading guilty to possessing a firearm as a prohibited person, possessing cartridge ammunition and possessing Victoria Police identification.
With time in custody before sentencing taken into account he would have been released on Tuesday, April 9.
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But the Director of Public Prosecutions appealed this sentence in the County Court in Bendigo on Friday on the basis it was inadequate.
Police discovered a .22 rifle and ammunition, nine shotgun shells and a Victoria Police badge in Pratt's possession while carrying out a raid at a property in Drummond North, west of Malmsbury, last October.
The rifle was one of seven firearms stolen from a property at Woodvale in August 2017.
Pratt was prohibited from possessing a firearm as he had been released from prison in the five years prior.
Prosecutor David Cordy said Pratt had numerous prior convictions for offences including possessing a prohibited weapon, possessing a controlled weapon, possessing cartridge ammunition, armed robbery, intentionally causing serious injury, and other crimes.
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Pratt had served a number of jail sentences, he said.
"Previous sentences do not seem to have deterred the respondent from offending further," Mr Cordy said.
He argued it was an aggravating feature that the firearm was not safely stored and, while it was not loaded, ammunition was close by.
Mr Cordy said Pratt's prior convictions showed he was a man who had little or no regard for the law, particularly when it came to weapons.
He argued the nature of the offending, Pratt's past and the need to deter both Pratt and others in the community from such crimes made the sentence handed down in the Magistrates' Court inadequate.
Defence lawyer Robert Timms told the court this was Pratt's first firearms offence.
Mr Timms said his client was asked by the sentencing magistrate to provide a written account of his goals upon his release from prison, which was the first time he had been asked by a judicial officer to reflect on his offending and his future.
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"I know I can do good for myself and the community if I was given some help from professionals," Pratt wrote to the magistrate.
Pratt had completed a number of courses while in custody, Mr Timms said, which marked a significant change from his previous terms of imprisonment during which he did not finish courses.
Mr Timms also said the original sentence, with the community corrections order, would provide Pratt with the support and guidance necessary.
He submitted there was no guarantee Pratt would receive the benefit of parole were he to be sentenced to more time in custody.
Judge Michael Murphy would have the benefit of supervising Pratt on his community corrections order, Mr Timms said, and the opportunity to resentence him if he were to breach it.
But Judge Murphy determined a longer sentence was appropriate, telling Pratt it was important to send a message that the unauthorised possession of firearms, especially as a prohibited person and in such circumstances as his offending, was unacceptable.
Judge Murphy resentenced Pratt to a total term of imprisonment of 19 months with a non-parole period of 12 months.
He also fined Pratt $500 for possessing cartridge ammunition, as this offence was only eligible for a monetary penalty.
Judge Murphy noted Pratt's "bad track record" with terms of imprisonment dating back to 1995.
He said Pratt's desire to do good for himself and the community weighed in favour of a rehabilitative sentence, but the offending and Pratt's record warranted imprisonment.
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