TERRIFIED victims pleaded with a group of Bendigo robbers to stop as the attackers used a tomahawk to smash and steal a car, a court has heard.
Zachary Bryce Scoble, 25, and Mitchell Dale Cahill, 21, appeared in the County Court last week where they each pleaded guilty to one charge of armed robbery.
The court heard in the early hours of February 18 last year, Scoble, Cahill, and co-offender John Bartels met up with the victims in Marong for a drug deal.
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When the two victims arrived in their white Holden utility, Bartels entered their car and told the victims to drive to the Queen Elizabeth Oval.
About two hours later, Scoble and Cahill arrived in their Ford Futura and parked a distance away.
They were wearing face coverings and carrying a tomahawk and a knife as they approached the driver and passenger sides of the white ute.
Scoble smashed the car's windscreen and windows with the tomahawk.
The victims tried to drive off, but Bartels pulled the handbrake on and told them to shut up.
Scoble reached through the smashed driver's side window and took the keys out of the ignition, as he and Cahill yelled at the victims to get out of the car.
The victims exited the vehicle and pleaded for the men to stop. The court heard Bartels told them he had to take the car otherwise he would get killed.
The three offenders entered the white ute and Bartels drove Scoble and Cahill to the Ford Futura.
The pair got into the Ford and the offenders drove off in the two vehicles.
The court heard the victims sustained cuts to their hands and grazes to their knees.
They went to a nearby pharmacy and reported the robbery to a security guard, who contacted police.
Later that morning, police arrested Bartels at his Epsom home. Officers arrested Scoble and Cahill at a Bendigo address.
The stolen white ute was found in a garage at the Bendigo property. Bank cards in the names of the victims were also found at the address.
The Ford Futura, which was also at the Bendigo property, was searched. Police found the tomahawk, a balaclava, and a blue bandana.
Bartels pleaded guilty to the armed robbery charge and was sentenced in the County Court last month.
He received a two-year community corrections order after serving 546 days of pre-sentence detention.
Prosecutor Michael Keks told the court as armed robbery was a schedule two offence, Scoble and Cahill would need to serve a jail term with a non-parole period unless they could prove exceptional circumstances.
But Cahill's defence counsel Charles Morgan told the judge that reasoning was unfair for his client because Bartels did not face the same test.
Mr Morgan said in any case, that unfairness should constitute as an exceptional circumstance for Cahill.
The defence counsel said Cahill had a "significant" prior criminal history after he started using drugs at the age of 15.
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Mr Morgan conceded Cahill was on a community corrections order at the time of the armed robbery, but he was still a young man who should be afforded another chance.
Scoble's defence counsel Tas Antos told the court his client would meet the exceptional circumstances through his disadvantaged background.
Mr Antos said Scoble was an Indigenous man who experienced family violence and abuse as a child.
The defence counsel said his client started using drugs at nine years old and was admitted into a residential rehabilitation facility at 14.
Mr Antos said Scoble had since been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, borderline personality disorder, and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.
The defence lawyer conceded Scoble had an "unenviable" criminal history and there was no doubt he had the "physical" role in the armed robbery.
But Mr Antos said while Scoble's rehabilitation prospects were "guarded", he too could be afforded another chance at a corrections order.
The case was adjourned to later this month for a further plea hearing. Scoble and Cahill were remanded in custody.
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