28 March 2024

WATCH: Carjacker who robbed woman at knifepoint in Canberra Centre gets five years' jail

| Albert McKnight
Canberra Centre rooftop carpark

Lachlan Smith, then aged 19, was filmed committing an aggravated robbery at the Canberra Centre rooftop car park on 24 July 2023. Photo: Screenshot.

THURSDAY: A knife-wielding carjacker who stole the vehicle of a terrified woman at the Canberra Centre has been handed a total of about five years in jail.

Lachlan Smith, 20, was convicted and sentenced to the term by the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday (28 March), along with a non-parole period of two years and two months.

He was caught on closed-circuit television footage using a knife to rob his victim of her car at the Canberra Centre’s rooftop carpark on 24 July 2023 before speeding away.

As he had already been on a suspended sentence for unrelated offences at the time, the remainder of this sentence was also imposed on Thursday.

This earlier sentence included a robbery he committed on 15 August 2022 when he was 18. He and a co-offender used a knife to steal cash and alcohol from a liquor store worth about $1600.

After he was arrested for this offence, he called his mother from the Alexander Maconochie Centre and asked her to delete evidence on his devices. Justice David Mossop said his mother appeared to commend him for his offending, telling him what he had done was “pretty cool”.

The judge said Smith had used drugs from an early age and had been assessed as being at a medium risk of general reoffending.

Smith’s sentence was backdated to account for time in custody, so he is eligible for parole from February 2026.

READ ALSO ‘Gross, creepy’: alleged Tinder ‘catfish’ accused of indecently assaulting second woman

MONDAY: A woman getting into her car one evening at the Canberra Centre was surprised by a knife-wielding teenager who stole her vehicle before speeding away.

According to court documents, Lachlan Smith was 19 when he and two young people went to the centre’s rooftop car park at about 6 pm on 24 July 2023.

Smith held a mobile phone to his ear while he followed his victim to her parked Toyota Corolla.

He then approached her as she sat in her driver’s seat, opened the car door brandishing a 12-15 cm knife and demanded she get out and give him her car park boom gate ticket.

The victim exited the car and fled in fear, leaving her wallet and laptop behind. Smith then got inside the vehicle and sped away, stopping to pick up the two young people.

He drove out of the car park by tailgating another vehicle through the boom gate.

Smith was arrested two days later in Braddon and told police that taking the car was “just straightaway thing – it was just an opportunity [sic]”.

He also told police he needed to “get back south” from Canberra City and had driven the car to Gordon. The vehicle was later found in Narrabundah.

READ ALSO ‘This was no accident’: husband, wife ‘hatched’ plan to stage car crash then claim insurance

Smith pleaded guilty to charges including aggravated robbery, theft and dishonestly driving a motor vehicle without consent.

After his arrest, he spent 244 days in custody before this sentencing hearing in the ACT Supreme Court on Monday (25 March), during which his barrister, Alyn Doig, said his client had celebrated his last two birthdays in custody.

Mr Doig described the now 20-year-old as “a lost boy” who needed a connection to a community and strong guidance.

He said Smith had spent 70 per cent of his adult life behind bars.

Justice David Mossop will sentence Smith, who is still in custody, on Thursday (28 March).

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.