Man sentenced over robbing house, detaining boy after a mother refuses his kiss

Albert McKnight 10 February 2021
ACT Law Courts

Giuseppe Pasquale Catanzariti pleaded guilty to several offences including aggravated burglary by joint commission. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A man has been sentenced over robbing a Canberra home and detaining a teenage boy apparently because the woman who lived there, who was friends with his own mother, rejected his kiss.

Giuseppe Pasquale Catanzariti, 22, was sentenced to nearly 22 months’ prison after he pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, unlawful confinement and theft, each by joint commission.

In December, the construction worker’s sentence was suspended for an 18-month drug and alcohol treatment order, to be followed by a good behaviour order until September 2022.

Chief Justice Helen Murrell, who recently released her sentencing remarks over the ACT Supreme Court matter, noted the motive for the burglary was “retribution for a perceived slight” and said it must have been a terrifying ordeal for the teen victim.

According to the statement of facts in the matter, Catanzariti went to the woman’s home with his mother in December 2019, and when he bent down to greet the woman with a kiss, she pulled away.

In response, he told the woman, in part, “I’m going to f— you over. I’m going to come in with my mates. I’m going to f—ing steal your sh-t”.

About a week later, the woman’s teenage son was home alone one evening when Catanzariti, making no effort to conceal his identity, forced entry into the home with a co-offender.

The co-offender took the teen’s phone and told him to sit in the dining room while the two men searched the house. After about 20 minutes the teen managed to escape to a neighbour’s house who helped him call police.

The facts state the offenders later abandoned items taken from the house, including an assortment of Australian mint coins, a bag containing a collectible coin set, a t-shirt and a wallet. Jewellery was also taken and later recovered.

Chief Justice Murrell said a victim impact statement provided by the woman said she had worked as Catanzariti’s life coach and felt disgusted and betrayed by his actions.

“She lives in ‘constant fear’. She is hypervigilant, often looking over her shoulder to see whether anyone is following her. She also fears for other people,” Chief Justice Murrell said.

She said the woman had moved from her home where the robbery took place and had not yet found permanent accommodation, while her son had to move in with another family member, which has negatively affected the woman’s relationship with him.

“Although the court received no victim impact statement from [her son], the only available inference is that the offence terrified him and has a significant ongoing psychological impact on him,” Chief Justice Murrell said.

“He was home alone, waiting for his mother. The incident would have been extremely frightening to him.”

However, she also noted the “purpose of the burglary was not a desire to cause harm or threaten to cause harm” to the woman or her son, as well as Catanzariti’s mental health difficulties and that in early December 2019 he was upset by the recent breakup of a long relationship and how his dog, to whom he was very close, had to be put down.

At the time of the offences, she said he was “under the influence of various substances, particularly prescription medication and cocaine”, but noted the Crown had accepted he “appears to be well motivated to achieve rehabilitation”.

Catanzariti spent about six months in custody in 2020 after he was refused bail over the matter.


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