25 September 2023

Alleged robber accused of knife-point carjacking at Westfield Belconnen refused bail

| Albert McKnight
Westfield Belconnen

A woman was allegedly robbed and slashed at the carpark at Westfield Belconnen on Sunday. Photo: Westfield Belconnen, Facebook.

An alleged knife-wielding robber accused of carjacking a woman at Westfield Belconnen and slashing her arm before embarking on a dangerous police chase through Canberra’s City has been refused bail.

Trong Anthony Nguyen, 26, appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday (25 September), where he was handed charges of robbery, intentional wounding and dangerous driving.

The woman had just opened the door to her Mazda BT50, which was parked in the mall’s carpark on Benjamin Way, at around 11:30 am on Sunday (24 September), when she heard footsteps running behind her, court documents say.

She turned around to allegedly see Nguyen holding a 10 cm knife and demanding her car keys.

It’s alleged he then launched forwards, attacking her with a knife and knocking her to the ground. He allegedly grabbed her car keys when she tried to throw them away, got into her car and drove off.

She saw blood and that her arm had been “sliced with a knife”, the documents say.

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The woman went into the mall where bystanders helped her and called police before she was taken to the Canberra Hospital.

Police spotted the Mazda in Braddon shortly afterwards and tried to get it to stop, but its driver allegedly fled from them and drove towards other motorists while on the wrong side of the road.

A police chase began through Braddon, Civic, Turner and Ainslie, during which the car was allegedly seen driving on the wrong side of the road several times as well as on footpaths, reaching speeds of 105 km/h in a 50 km/h zone and going through red lights.

The Mazda allegedly crashed into a garden bed and fence in Braddon before the driver got out and ran from police on foot. Nguyen was arrested shortly afterwards.

He applied for bail on Monday, which was opposed by the prosecution based on the likelihood of him allegedly committing more offences and endangering the safety of others.

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His lawyer, Jack Watson of Legal Aid, argued bail conditions could ameliorate the risks if he was released.

He said his client worked as a labourer but was also on Centrelink, had taken heroin three days before the allegations, could live with his parents in Evatt and could stay clear of Westfield Belconnen.

But Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker claimed it seemed Nguyen posed a very serious risk to the community, which appeared to be related to his drug use.

She refused bail and remanded him in custody to 16 October for a plea or mention.

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