18 March 2024

Victim of wrench-wielding robber must live with 'memory of his powerlessness and fear'

| Albert McKnight
ACT Magistrate Court.

Jack James Sims, 32, has been handed a drug treatment order by the ACT Supreme Court. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A judge has sympathised with a victim who was assaulted, threatened and robbed by a group of people as he now lives with “the memory of his powerlessness and the fear” from the hour-long incident.

Jack James Sims, now aged 32, pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated robbery and forcible confinement before he was sentenced to a drug-treatment order by the ACT Supreme Court late last month.

The victim was alleged to owe a debt to drug dealer Natalie Marie Hyde and she demanded he return house keys to her that were for a home in Conder, Acting Justice Anthony Hopkins said in his recently released sentencing remarks.

When he arrived at the home to hand the keys over in the early hours of 9 June 2022, Haylie Ellen Sibley drove Sims into the driveway, blocking their victim’s exit with their car.

Sims jumped into the victim’s car and yelled at him to go inside the house. There, Sims swung a socket wrench at him but missed. He and Sibley then took the man’s phone and accused him of owing money and of being an undercover police officer.

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Sims also became angry and hit their victim on his head and face, causing a black eye. When Hyde arrived with several others, she also started hitting him and stole about $50 from him.

The group became increasingly angry, hitting the victim harder and talking about killing him.

After about an hour, the victim convinced the group to let him go to the bathroom where he managed to kick out a window and escape.

He was left with lacerations, abrasions and bruising to his face around his eye, as well as a wound to the top of his head requiring three staples, and abrasions to his knee and hands.

“He will live with the memory of his powerlessness and the fear he experienced for the period in which he was confined and robbed by you and your co-offenders,” Acting Justice Hopkins told Sims.

He said Sims had been unable to cope with the traumatic experiences he had experienced as a child and had turned to alcohol and illicit drugs to manage his emotions.

“From the age of 18, you were doing whatever you had to do to afford illicit substances, committing offences that have seen you spend much of your adult life in prison,” he said.

Acting Justice Hopkins said as Sims was dependent on illicit substances and this dependency substantially contributed to his offending. Sims had asked for a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Order (DATO), which would allow him to work towards his rehabilitation in the community.

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He said Sims, who has worked in landscape gardening and concreting, had spent significant periods of his life in prison “as a consequence of a cycle of addiction and offending”, and he had demonstrated he was ready to do the hard work required for such an order.

He was convicted and sentenced to two years and six months’ jail, suspended for an 18-month DATO.

His two co-offenders, who fought their charges resulting in different facts for their cases, were sentenced earlier this year.

Hyde, who had spent 483 days in custody over her charges, was convicted and sentenced to about three years and three months’ jail, to be served as an intensive corrections order in the community.

Sibley, who launched an appeal against her convictions, was convicted and sentenced to one year and three months in jail, wholly suspended for a two-year good behaviour order.

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