Jail over terrorising taxi driver during armed robbery
TWO of three males who terrorised a taxi driver by using a stolen car to ram into his parked vehicle, along with smashing the taxi with golf club and punching the victim's head, have been jailed.
One was on parole and both were on suspended sentences when they took part in a spate of crime, along with a juvenile co-offender, on June 11, 2019.
Adam Joseph Hopkins, 20, and Te Ariki Horo, 19, pleaded guilty on June 25 in Rockhampton District Court to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm while armed and in company, one of unlawful use of a motor vehicle to facilitate the commission of a crime and one of armed robbery with personal violence.
The pair also pleaded guilty to four counts of enter premises, one enter dwelling, one enter dwelling by break and one unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
Hopkins had an addition three charges for breaching bail conditions by not complying with a curfew.
Judge Michael Burnett said the trio's offending started about midnight on June 11 near Rocky Gardens Motor Inn on Lower Dawson Rd.
"At one point, one of you hopped in a vehicle and turned the engine on," he said.
The court heard the vehicle's owner discovered the offenders searching through his ute, called them out with one of the offenders responding with violence.
"He was struck quite violently with the golf club," Judge Burnett said.
"So hard it broke the club."
The victim chased the offenders away and the club was swung at him again.
The offenders were next caught at an Allenstown residence where a resident was woken up about midnight by a barking dog and found one offender in a Nissan Patrol in the carport, another trying to open a gate and another running down towards the laundry which was ransacked with keys stolen.
The trio then went to the Southside Holiday Village where a couple staying in a cabin had one of their vehicles broken into and reversed.
The trio then stole the vehicle of another visitor about 1am, driving to Raffles Hotel on Musgrave St where staff found one defendant smashing the safety glass near the ATM door.
A staff member saw Horo wearing a red bandana and holding the golf club which he held towards the staff member and demanded money from the till, which neither staff or Horo could open.
The juvenile offender along with one of the others smashed a glass door which set off an alarm and all three ran off.
About 2am, the trio started their attack on a taxi parked on Thozet Rd.
The driver was sitting in the car when one of the offenders stood next to his door while another smashed the adjacent window and then the stolen car was rammed into the taxi.
The driver was punched several times during the ordeal.
One of the offenders told the driver to give them all his money while waving a knife in his face and tapped it against his temple.
The driver took $200 from his pocket and gave to the trio.
But that did not satisfy the trio with one of them then punching the man in the head, right temple and mouth.
The offenders took the man's wallet, demanded his phone and punched him again before taking off.
Police located the trio at Hopkins' bail address after being contacted by victims of their crimes.
Only $660 of the $900 they stole from the taxi driver was recovered.
Horo, who was born in New Zealand, had a three page criminal record and due to not being an Australian citizen, is likely to be deported.
Defence barrister Maree Willey said Horo's father, who was in court in support, feared for his son if he was returned to New Zealand as Horo has been abused as a child there and had been exposed to alcohol and violence in the family environment when living there last.
She said he had poor recollection of the events on June 11 as he and Hopkins had drunk two one-litre bottles of spirits and smoke marijuana that night.
Hopkins' barrister Ross Lo Monaco said Hopkins had a difficult childhood, taken out of his biological parents' care as a baby and adopted by his aunt and uncle.
He said the difficult part was when he still had contact with his biological parents with his mother being a heavy drinker and in multiple violent relationships.
Mr Lo Monaco said Hopkins started smoking marijuana as a child and using methamphetamines at 17.
The court heard Hopkins had fought with his partner on June 10 and took using ice and alcohol afterwards, and leading on to the crime spree.
Judge Burnett said reports tabled showed Hopkins had been involved at fights at school for which he had been suspended.
"You were a talented rugby league player," he said.
Judge Burnett said by the looks of Hopkins in court, he had a good solid build that was ideal for rugby league players.
Hopkins was sentenced to 4.5 years prison as his sentence is cumulative on the one he is serving out for a robbery in company sentence he received in October 2018. His parole eligibility was set for November 25, 2020.
Horo was sentenced to five years prison with 367 days presentence custody declared and immediate parole eligibility.
The juvenile offender has yet to be sentenced for the crime spree.