DPP v Olsen [2016] VCC 1391

Sentence summary: Armed robbery

The offender stumbled after boarding a tram and the victim, a passenger travelling with his three-year-old daughter, asked if he was okay. The offender responded by saying: ‘I'm okay, you okay? Do you want to go me? I'll pull scissors and stick 'em in your neck.’

A short time later the offender produced a pair of scissors approximately 20 centimetres in length. He put the blade between his knuckles and clenched his fist. He then moved towards the victim who said to him, ‘Calm down, I'm with my daughter’. The offender then said to the victim, ‘Give me five bucks’, which he ignored. Shortly afterwards several passengers pushed the offender off the tram.

The offender pleaded guilty to making a threat to inflict serious injury and attempted armed robbery.

The judge found the offending was serious. The offender had threatened an innocent man without provocation in the presence of his young daughter while on public transport. The offending was not at the high end of the scale, however the victim was traumatised by the incident. The judge said it was necessary to denounce such behaviour and deter both the offender and the general public from acting in such a manner.

The judge said the incident had had a profound effect on the victim, who was now concerned about the well-being of his daughter.

The offender's guilty plea and disadvantaged background were mitigating circumstances in sentencing. However the judge said the offender’s psychiatric condition – a major depressive disorder and a substance-induced psychotic disorder – did not reduce his moral culpability. Despite being intoxicated the offender knew what he was doing was wrong.

However the judge found that the psychiatric condition would make prison more onerous.

The offender was sentenced to two years and three months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 15 months.

Was this page helpful?

Page last updated: 26 August 2018