28 March 2023

Boxcutter-wielding ex-drug dealer handed 'lenient' sentence for robbery

| Albert McKnight
Kyle Joseph Butkovic outside the Canberra courts.

Kyle Joseph Butkovic (left) pictured outside the Canberra courts on Monday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A justice told a former drug dealer involved in a drug debt-related robbery that he had handed him a sentence “at the most absolute lenient end of the spectrum”.

“The punchline is you’ve done your time in custody,” Justice David Mossop told Kyle Joseph Butkovic on Monday (27 March).

The 30-year-old, who pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated robbery, is the fourth person to be sentenced over the incident in August 2021.

Justice Mossop told the ACT Supreme Court that one co-offender, Omar Haddara, had been sending or making multiple calls and texts to the victim demanding payment of an alleged debt.

Another co-offender, Jennifer Hanson, then lured the victim to her home in Moncrieff under false pretences to help Haddara.

A group of four men – Butkovic, Haddara, Jake John Trewartha and a fourth, unidentified man – arrived at the house and grabbed the victim when he tried to leave. Butkovic was armed with a boxcutter while Trewartha had a baseball bat.

The men demanded the victim pay his alleged debt, and he ultimately gave or transferred $3315 to Butkovic.

READ ALSO Pokies brawler fist-bumps supporter after avoiding return to jail

While it was happening, the fourth man threw an object at the victim’s face and hit him in the head, while Trewartha also struck him with the baseball bat.

Trewartha hit him again and made a comment along the lines of “let’s just put him in the boot” before Haddara made them stop. They then left, warning the victim not to go to the police.

Justice Mossop said the robbery was not sophisticated, but it was clearly planned and it had taken time for the victim to transfer the money.

He did note Butkovic didn’t engage in violence against the victim himself.

The court heard Butkovic had a history of illicit substance use and had started selling drugs to his friends when he was 21 before selling them to the wider public. In 2019, he was convicted on two counts of trafficking a controlled drug over offences from 2017.

He spent about five months in custody over the robbery before he was released on bail in January 2022, and the justice accepted he had refrained from using drugs since then. He had also made efforts to distance himself from anti-social associates.

Justice Mossop accepted the prosecution’s submissions that if the tiler was returned to custody, the progress he had made towards his rehabilitation could “come to a grinding halt”.

READ ALSO Marc Jessop sped at over 180km/h before killing Harri Jokien in Monaro Highway collision

Butkovic was convicted and sentenced to two and a half years in jail, which was backdated and suspended after he served about five months. He must complete a good behaviour order for the remainder of his sentence.

This means his time in custody has been served and he does not have to return to prison. After handing down his sentence, Justice Mossop warned Butkovic to “stay out of trouble”.

Hanson has already been handed a 16-month intensive corrections order (ICO) on a charge of being knowingly concerned in the robbery.

Haddara and Trewartha both pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery. The former was sentenced to a two-year, seven-month ICO and the latter was sentenced to two years and three months in jail, but this was suspended as he had already spent almost a year behind bars.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.