Sledgehammer bandit gets a pass

November 10, 2017

A SERIAL burglar who broke into the Kyabram Club with a sledge hammer has been handed a ‘‘free kick’’ by a magistrate.

A SERIAL burglar who broke into the Kyabram Club with a sledge hammer has been handed a ‘‘free kick’’ by a magistrate.

Damian Leslie Graham will not spend one day more in prison for his crimes which caused more than $19,000 worth of damage.

The 26-year-old father from Truganina is currently serving a 30 month sentence for a string of 16 burglaries he committed before the May 15 crime.

And magistrate Patrick Southey said if this offence was heard with the others the sentence wouldn’t have changed.

He appeared via videolink in Echuca Magistrates Court on Wednesday to plead guilty to burglary, theft, criminal damage, negligent dealing with proceeds of crime and a breach of parole.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Rachael Hitchens said Graham attended the Kyabram Club on May 15 at 5.30am with a number of other offenders.

‘‘They arrived in a stolen vehicle from Tongala, walked to the rear access door and forced their way in with a sledge hammer,’’ she said.

‘‘He smashed an auto glass sliding door to enter the gaming area.

‘‘He was wearing a black mask and a set of black riggers gloves.

‘‘The accused had then smashed his way into the office area and forced open the steel door of the safe room where he stole various amounts of cash.’’

The court heard Graham stole various items including a laptop and a swag of cash.

He then loaded the proceeds into the vehicle where the offenders were met by security.

‘‘Triggered by a silent alarm the security guards followed the offenders in the car and the accused fled on foot,’’ Snr Constable Hitchens said.

‘‘The co-accused deliberately rammed the security vehicle with significant force.

‘‘The car was found deliberately alight in Rochester later when the accused joined the co-accused and divided up the money.’’

Police arrested Graham on May 18 with a number of stolen items in his possession.

These included stolen credit cards from two different people and a diamond ring.

Mr Southey spent some time conversing with Graham’s lawyer about whether he should be ‘‘let off free’’.

‘‘It is a serious burglary and yet now you are asking me to let your client get it for free,’’ he said.

‘‘The totality principle would apply here though.

‘‘It may not have made any difference if he was sentenced for this crime with the others.’’

Mr Southey said it was Graham’s family circumstances which persuaded him.

‘‘You are a father of five, about to be of six, and you are the sole carer for your wife and kids,’’ he said.

‘‘There is no one else.’’

Mr Southey sentenced him to three months imprisonment which means he will be eligible for parole on January 31.

This didn’t add anything to his current sentence.

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