A judge has imposed a "very lenient" sentence on a man guilty of common assault and aggravated burglary because of the efforts he has made to turn his life around.
Glen Matthew Calleja was sentenced in the County Court in Bendigo to 158 days' imprisonment of time already served, a three-year community corrections order and 600 hours of community work for the offences committed in January 2016.
The court heard Calleja forced his way into the Echuca home of the victims - a couple he had known for about six months - and assaulted a man with a wooden bat.
There was reportedly a rumour at the time that the male victim had assisted police.
"It appears that the motive for your aggravated burglary and assault of [the victim] was as a result of your desire to punish him for helping the police," Judge Douglas Trapnell said.
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At the time of the offending, Calleja was on bail in relation to an alleged assault.
"I'm satisfied that your confrontation with [the victims] in the relatively early hours of the morning in their home, whilst you were armed with a wooden bat and wearing a balaclava, was a terrifying incident for them," Judge Trapnell said.
He said the burglary was a relatively serious example of the offence.
Calleja had a relevant history of offending, including firearms offences and assault, as well as subsequent crimes.
But he did successfully complete a community corrections order and had not committed any offences since March 2017.
The court heard Calleja had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and had experienced homelessness and estrangement from his family.
But he was now drug-free, had undertaken rehabilitation and, using skills acquired while in custody, had started up a successful trailer-making business with the support of his father.
He had also reunited with his family and his son.
A psychological report made earlier this year put Calleja's risk of reoffending as low, and Judge Trapnell considered his prospects of rehabilitation to be good.
"I'm satisfied that you have a large number of protective factors in place, which should have the effect of keeping you away from drugs and antisocial and criminal behaviour," Judge Trapnell said.
"Your and your family's efforts to date are to be encouraged and supported."
He said deciding an appropriate verdict for Calleja was a "difficult sentencing exercise" but he was moved to impose a "very lenient sentence".
"I don't often give people these sorts of lenient sentences - in fact, I think I've probably only given one or two in the past," Judge Trapnell said.
"So I'm extending an opportunity to you to put your drug use and your prior criminal behaviour behind you, and get on with your business, get on with your relationship with your family and your son, and have a useful life... Don't let me down, don't let yourself down, don't let the community down, and don't let your family down."
Calleja must undertake assessment and treatment for drugs while on his corrections order, as well as programs to address offending - time spent on which can count towards his community work hours.
He will remain under supervision, will be subject to judicial monitoring, and cannot use illicit substances.
For breaching bail, Calleja must pay a $1000 fine, and he must also pay $100 compensation for damage caused during the burglary.
If not for his guilty plea, he would have faced a three-year jail term, with at least two years behind bars.
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