Chinchilla father jailed for servo armed robbery
AFTER taking a large quantity of anti-anxiety pills Chinchilla father-of-two Benjamin Victor Fraser travelled to a local service station, threatened a cashier with a weapon, and demanded money from the till before running from the scene.
Fraser appeared via video link from the Woodford Correctional Centre as he pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery.
Crown prosecutor James Bishop told the court Fraser entered the 7-Eleven in Chinchilla in the early hours of January 14 this year and demanded the sole female cashier give him money.
"I want money out of the till," he said.
"This isn't a joke.
"I have a weapon on me and I want money from the till."
The defendant also told the cashier not to press an alert button, and to keep her hands on the counter.
Mr Bishop told the court the defendant apologised profusely to the victim as he robbed her.
Fraser left the store with $407 and three packets of cigarettes.
The court heard Fraser was identified immediately on CCTV footage, and was already well-known to police and the cashier.
In an initial police interview, Fraser denied committing the offences, however he later volunteered to participate in a second interview where he made admissions to the offence, and said he did not have a weapon on hand at the time, and that he had lied about possessing a weapon.
Mr Bishop said this offence was committed while on parole for a "strikingly similar" offence in 2017, where he robbed another service station and received three years imprisonment suspended after six months.
Defence lawyer Frank Martin said his client was in such a "dishevelled state" when police located him and took him in for an interview that the officers gave him food and water to help him.
Mr Martin said on the night before the offence, the defendant had been engaged in an argument with his brother that had resulted in a DVO being placed against him.
Fraser's mother and sister were also named as complainants in the DVO, which confused and upset the defendant.
Mr Martin said his client had taken a number of anti-anxiety pills before he committed the offence, and noted Fraser had made several attempts to take his own life over a number of years.
The defence lawyer said his client had been on remand in custody from January 23, and his parole order from his previous 2017 offence had been cancelled the next day.
Mr Martin said during his client's time in custody, he had worked as a packer in the jail kitchen and was on the waiting list for a few courses.
Mr Martin said Fraser wished to regain contact with his two children, and he was still on medication for his mental health while in custody.
In his sentencing submissions, Mr Martin said given his client's prior history, between his very first armed robbery offence to August 21, he would have been in custody for 21 months in total.
Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren described the offence as a "highly unsophisticated robbery", given the victim and police knew who he was, and he made no attempts to conceal his identity.
Referring to a psychological report, judge Horneman-Wren noted he had severe depressive and panic disorders for which he was currently being medicated for.
He also said the defendant had "won the trust of the prison officers" due to his good behaviour and willingness to work.
In his sentencing, the judge said his punishment had to "punish and rehabilitate" the defendant, and said Fraser had to be deterred from committing like offences ever again.
Judge Horneman-Wren sentenced Fraser to three years imprisonment, eligible for release after three months.
His parole release date was set for November 24 this year.