DPP v Eam [2016] VCC 1923

Sentence summary: Armed robbery

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The offender robbed four milk bars on four different occasions. He menaced his victims verbally and with Tasers, escaping on all occasions with cigarettes and cash. During the fourth robbery he assaulted the store owner when she attempted to protect herself, seizing a club lock from her and using it to bludgeon her to the body and head. He also held his victim in a headlock and punched her a number of times. The victim was seriously injured, requiring surgery and on-going medical treatment. She was unable to continue with her business and suffered great physical and mental trauma.

The offender pleaded guilty to four charges of armed robbery and one charge of intentionally causing serious injury.

The judge found the offender’s conduct was a serious example of the offences of armed robbery and intentionally causing serious injury. His pre-meditated actions saw him attack the soft target of milk bars staffed by women, where children were present on the premises on some occasions. He menaced his victims verbally and physically, leaving them with psychological and – in one instance – physical trauma.

In a victim impact statement one victim said that following the robbery she had installed an alarm and security measures ‘in order to give her some peace of mind, but these do not really make her feel safe’.

Another victim said she has reduced the opening hours of her business, now closing at 6pm rather than 9pm.

In another victim impact statement a victim said that she and her husband could no longer continue with their business as a result of the robbery. Referencing the statement the judge said: ‘[The victim] feels timid, withdrawn, and fearful about being left alone… [S]he has lost her health and she is seriously suffering from physical, mental and psychological trauma [and] she is unable to shake off her fear.’

The judge took into account the offender’s young age (20), his lack of prior convictions, guilty plea and remorse, and the support of his family.

Nevertheless, the judge ruled that the seriousness of the offences and the cowardly and vicious physical attack required condemnation. He found rehabilitation must play a lesser role in sentencing than the principles of general deterrence, denunciation, and just punishment.

The offender was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years.

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Page last updated: 18 September 2019