15 February 2023

Bail refused for alleged machete-wielding robber accused of two home invasions

| Albert McKnight
Law Court

Ivan Stephen Djerke, 47, is in custody awaiting trial for two alleged robberies. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A man awaiting trial for two alleged home invasions, one where he is accused of holding a machete near a woman’s throat and another where he assaulted a child, was refused bail when attempting to be released to go to a rehabilitation centre.

“How am I supposed to get better? I’m trying,” 47-year-old Ivan Stephen Djerke told the ACT Supreme Court after the decision was made on Tuesday (14 February).

“This is bulls-t. Every time I try and fix myself, man.”

It is alleged in court documents that he and a co-accused entered a home in Kambah through an unlocked door in the early hours of 14 April 2022.

Inside, the co-accused allegedly held a machete to a woman’s finger, demanded money and drugs and punched her in the face when she told him she didn’t have any.

Djerke allegedly held a machete near the woman’s throat, punched her in the face, and then he and the co-accused stole her phone and laptop before driving away in her car.

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The next night, 15 April, it is alleged he and the co-accused broke inside a home in Holt by making a hole in a laundry door.

Djerke allegedly demanded money from a person inside the home while holding a machete. Meanwhile, the co-accused allegedly demanded money from two other people while holding a crowbar and knife before using the weapons to strike one of them.

It is alleged Djerke also pulled a dreadlock from this person’s head before they stole items and left.

He has been charged with two counts of robbery, two counts of burglary and a single count of assault.

His lawyer, Anastasia Qvist of Fortify Legal, argued he had already spent a substantial amount of time behind bars – almost 290 days – and faced further time if bail was refused because the matter did not yet have a trial date.

She said he’d used his time in the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) productively and had been offered a bed in a rehabilitation program.

A letter had been provided to the court to say Djerke had filled a peer support role at the AMC and was highly regarded by its staff for his commitment to supporting his peers.

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Crown prosecutor Nathan Deakes opposed bail, saying Djerke had been released on bail over other matters just weeks before the alleged robberies.

He also said, while noting he was supplying this evidence from the bar table, that rehabilitation participants “frequently abscond”.

Justice David Mossop said he contemplated granting bail but ultimately refused it, partly over the gravity of the allegations and the potential for him to leave rehabilitation.

The matter returns to court in April.

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