DPP v Spokes [2016] VCC 498

Sentence summary: Aggravated burglary

On a night in June 2015 the offender broke into, and stole from a residential unit in which the resident was present and asleep. He entered the residence, stole car keys from a hook and an iPad that was in plain sight, and then used the keys to drive away in a car that was in the adjoining garage. The unit belonged to a 79-year-old man who lived there alone, and had gone to bed that night having locked all doors to his house and garage. The next morning when he awoke he saw a torch from his car lying in the unit, and then noticed that his iPad and car keys were missing and found the garage empty.

The offender pleaded guilty to charges including aggravated burglary and theft.

About two weeks prior to the break-in the offender had been placed on bail for an unrelated matter. As he was on bail at the time of the aggravated burglary, the offender was also charged with the summary charge of committing an indictable offence while on bail.

The judge took into account that the offender’s intention was to steal and not confront or harm the unit’s occupant. The judge said it was opportunistic offending at a relatively low level for the offence of aggravated burglary, but at a higher level for theft.

The judge also took into account the offender’s early guilty plea. The judge said: ‘Your pleas of guilty save the community the time and cost of disputed hearings, and witnesses from having to give evidence, and reflect a willingness to facilitate the course of justice.’

The offender suffered from a major depressive disorder and was at risk of becoming institutionalised. His troubled childhood had led to drug and alcohol abuse and lowered his culpability somewhat. The judge said the offender had genuine insight into his offending and guarded rehabilitation prospects.

The judge said the offender’s significant criminal history made specific deterrence an important sentencing consideration. The fact he was on bail at the time of offending was an aggravating feature.

The judge said the offender was still at an age (25) at which rehabilitation was in the best interests both of himself and the community. The judge said the sentence imposed would facilitate the offender’s rehabilitation while also imposing significant punishment.

The offender was sentenced to 11 months’ imprisonment followed by a two-year Community Corrections Order. As part of the CCO, the offender was ordered to perform 100 hours of unpaid community work, be subject to supervision, undergo assessment and treatment as directed for drug and alcohol abuse, and undergo assessment for and treatment for mental health conditions.

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Page last updated: 26 August 2018