A Canberra teenager, who himself survived horrific trauma as a child, has been sentenced over his role in three armed robberies, including one where a boy woke up in his bed to two knives being held at his throat by co-offenders.
The teenager faced 25 years’ prison after pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated robbery by joint commission and one count of aiding and abetting an aggravated robbery. The first crime was committed when he was 15 years old.
The case was outlined in a recently released ACT Supreme Court judgment.
In December, Justice David Mossop sentenced the then-17-year-old to four months and seven days’ jail, for which he had already served.
An agreed statement of facts included in the judgement shows the teen first robbed a jewellery store in Holt on a morning in November 2018, without wearing any gloves or face covering.
While his unknown co-offender threatened staff with a knife, the teen opened a glass display cabinet and took $3048 worth of jewellery.
When a staff member ran out the front door and started to close it, the teen kicked it open, causing its glass panel to crack and the staff member to fall over. The teen then fled.
In September 2019, when the teen was 16, he was involved in the night-time robbery of a Dominos Pizza in Holt with two other offenders who were armed with a machete and a double-barrelled shotgun.
As a co-offender threatened a staff member of the store with the shotgun, the teen took bags of money from the store’s safe. In total, the trio stole almost $1000 in the robbery that lasted less than a minute.
Photos uploaded to Facebook under profiles connected to the offenders showed weapons matching those used during the robbery. The teen himself uploaded a photo in clothing that matched what he wore in CCTV footage from the Dominos store.
Finally on a night in January 2020, when the teen was 17, he went to a house in Latham with two other youths where a 16-year-old they knew from school lived with his mother and three siblings.
The mother, who recognised the other two youths as friends of her son, told them her son was asleep. The three entered his room and the two other youths pulled out a ballistic knife and a box cutter knife and held them to the 16-year-old’s throat as he awoke before taking money from his wallet.
While the boy was being threatened, the teen offender stood by the bedroom door and drank a beer.
Justice Mossop said a victim impact statement from the 16-year-old victim said he has been unable to sleep since the robbery, is afraid to leave the house and feels afraid in his own home.
“He constantly feels anxious and is worried about his little brothers who were in the next room,” he said.
“He is getting counselling from various organisations due to the trauma he suffers and the effects on his mental health.”
Justice Mossop also noted the teenage offender’s “significant history of childhood trauma due to parental mental health and drug use” and his exposure to domestic violence, including in 2017 when his father allegedly punched him in his hand when his hand was already in a cast having been broken several weeks earlier.
Overall, Justice Mossop said while the teen had committed very serious offences, in each crime his involvement was less than that of his co-offenders.
“Because of his youth, his lack of a criminal history and the very strong interest that the community has in diverting him from further offending, appropriate sentences for this offending do not involve him spending any further time in custody,” he said.
Justice Mossop said the teen spent a total of 250 days in custody over the offences and would have to enter into two good behaviour orders for 18 months.