A judge has sentenced a man who attempted to rob a fast food restaurant to jail, but given him a longer parole period so he can get help for his mental health.
Forty-year-old Adrian Laird was sentenced in the County Court on Monday to 18 months' imprisonment, with a non-parole period of nine months, for an attempted armed robbery he committed in Bendigo in June this year.
Laird attended the Hungry Jack's restaurant on High Street shortly after 1pm on June 8 and demanded money from the employee behind the counter, while armed with a pair of scissors.
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The employee, fearing for her life, put $20 on the counter, but Laird left the restaurant without taking the cash.
Police arrested him without incident outside the restaurant, opposite the Bendigo police station.
Earlier that morning, Laird had gone to the police station carrying scissors and demanded to be shot.
Police took him to Bendigo Health, but he was discharged after being given a dose of Valium.
"The facts in this case are very serious and disturbing," Judge Rachelle Lewitan said.
Laird's defence counsel had submitted the attempted robbery was a "cry for help" and Laird felt he had to be arrested, so chose Hungry Jack's given its proximity to the police station.
Judge Lewitan accepted that Laird's disadvantaged background - which included physical and emotional neglect as a child, as well as exposure to violence - lessened his moral culpability.
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Laird's moral culpability was also reduced, she said, because of the state of his mental health at the time - a psychologist reported that Laird was acutely mentally unwell when he committed the crime.
Judge Lewitan said she accepted Laird's mental health meant imprisonment would weigh more heavily on him than others, and being in jail would have a significant adverse impact on his mental health.
The judge agreed Laird would benefit from a lengthy period of parole.
She also took his plea of guilty into account and said it indicated remorse.
Laird has already served 189 days of his sentence.
Had he not pleaded guilty and been found so, he would have faced at least 18 months in prison, with a maximum sentence of two years and three months.
If you or someone you know needs help for mental health concerns, contact:
If someone is at imminent risk of harm, call 000.
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