19 September 2023

Pair of French bulldogs were stolen during month-long crime spree

| Albert McKnight
Coat of Arms

Benjamin Quirk-Buckley and Jack Brian Cant, both aged 20, appeared in the ACT Supreme Court for a sentencing hearing on Monday after pleading guilty to their charges. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

One of the men involved in the theft of a pair of French bulldogs from a home last year was on a month-long “drug bender”, a court heard at their sentencing hearing.

Benjamin Quirk-Buckley and Jack Brian Cant, both aged 20, appeared in the ACT Supreme Court for a sentencing hearing on Monday (18 September) after pleading guilty to their charges.

The pair had gone into a man’s home in Garran over the night of 18-19 July 2022 and stole his Audi RS4 and his two bulldogs named Prince and Pricilla, court documents say.

Cant was then filmed holding one of the dogs and saying, “This 10-grand French bulldog is now a hostage”.

In another video, he said, “You’re going to Jakey. Good home”.

Quirk-Buckley was arrested the following afternoon, then police raided a home in Macgregor on 20 July and arrested Cant as well as a co-offender involved in other incidents.

They found one of the bulldogs at the home, as well as the RS4 nearby.

Earlier police documents in the case claim the second dog was also later returned to its owners.

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Both men pleaded guilty to 12 charges each over their crime spree that lasted from 1 July 2022 until their arrest, which included robbery, burglary, theft and driving a motor vehicle without consent.

The barrister for Quirk-Buckley, Faraz Jafri, told the court he accepted the threshold requiring a sentence of imprisonment had been crossed.

“It’s been leapt over with wild abandon in your client’s case,” Justice Louise Taylor told him.

Mr Jafri said his client had been 18 at the time of the offences, had been using drugs since he was 14, was deeply remorseful and now claimed he wanted to learn and get employment in construction.

Dean Ager, the barrister for Cant, argued that “these are crimes of addiction” committed to fund his client’s drug use. He was 19 at the time and had a $400-per-day heroin habit, he said.

“He was on a drug bender for the month of July,” he said.

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Cant left school in Year 8 and has issues with literacy, but dictated a letter to a cellmate who typed it up while they were in jail.

“I watched grown men jest about their crimes and talk about it like it was a badge of honour. I in no way want to become like that,” he wrote.

Mr Ager said seeing others in custody had been “a bit of a wake-up call” for him.

He said Cant works at Canberra’s jail, starting as a sweeper and has “[risen] through the ranks” to become a second-in-charge sweeper. He now works in the kitchen, which is a job that is “not given out lightly”, the barrister said.

Both men have been in custody since July 2022. Justice Taylor will sentence them later this year, while the co-offender will be sentenced in November.

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