Footage screened to a court showed a Mars bar thief the “full horror of what he carried out while intoxicated” when he attacked two men in a 7-Eleven, a magistrate has said.
About 9:40 pm on 14 May 2021, Corey Ayling and his co-defendant, tried to fill up their Ford Falcon at the 7-Eleven on Canberra Avenue in Fyshwick, but over the loudspeaker, a staff member told them they would have to pre-pay for the fuel due to the time of night.
The duo began verbally abusing him, then Ayling walked inside and started taking chocolates from a Mars bar stand.
The staff member went to tell him to stop stealing the chocolate bars, but Ayling and the co-defendant punched him several times, including in the head.
Another man in the shop came to the staff member’s aid and tried to separate him from the attackers, but he too was punched in the face.
Ayling left and the staff member locked the front door. But Ayling returned to kick this door until it came off its tracks before he used his car to do a burnout as he drove away.
Soon afterwards, police found the purple Ford Falcon crashed on the Monaro Highway. They found the highly intoxicated Ayling sitting in water near the Narrabundah Velodrome. His co-defendant was arrested nearby.
The 7-Eleven staff member had to be taken to hospital due to his injuries.
After closed-circuit television footage of the incident was shown to the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (4 November), Ayling told the court he didn’t have “any recollection of that night”.
Magistrate James Lawton asked him how he felt after seeing the footage for the first time, to which he replied, “terrible”.
“You gave him a flogging for no good reason at all,” Magistrate Lawton said.
“Someone like you cannot afford to ever be using drugs again because it will be the death of you, or worse still, the death of someone else.”
Legal Aid’s Ms West, appearing for Ayling, said her client made a “stupid decision while under the influence of alcohol”.
She said he was affected emotionally at the time because a long-term relationship had broken down, and he also had an increasing dependence on benzodiazepines like Xanax.
Prosecutor Lauren Knobel said Ayling had already spent about five months in jail over the attacks and would be a sentenced prisoner over other matters until January 2022.
She said his alleged co-offender was “dragging his feet” as his matters proceeded through the courts after pleading not guilty.
Ms West said Ayling had been offered employment in a plumbing business with his father.
Ayling, who is 27 and is from Belconnen, pleaded guilty to charges of assault, minor theft and damaging property.
He was fined $5500 and sentenced to 12 months’ jail to be served via an intensive corrections order, an order served in the community.