Two young men convicted over a spate of aggravated robberies at the Australian National University and the University of Canberra have walked free from the ACT Supreme Court, after being handed suspended sentences.
Darren Hubert Scott, 20, and an 18-year-old man, who cannot be named as he was a minor at the time of the robberies, perpetrated the attacks in October 2016.
Police told the court the case against the pair included CCTV footage and text messages between them.
One allegedly read: “Do you want to conduct a rob tonight?”
“Yes I do,” was the response.
The pair stole wallets, phones and laptops from the victims.
‘I felt safe before’
Originally police said the attacks were targeting students of Asian appearance, however the court has since heard they were opportunistic.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, one of the victims told of the toll the attack still took on him.
“It was very quick, all of a sudden they attacked me,” he said.
“I was injured and I was handicapped with my eye not opening normal.
“It has changed my view of going out at night.
“I felt safe before and this incident has changed my feelings.”
Father describes shock at son’s actions
Both Scott and the younger man had been in custody since their arrest, spending nearly a year in jail.
In sentencing, Justice Michael Elkaim said he hoped that time left an impact.
“They have more than tasted custody,” he said.
“And I hope the taste has been bitter.”
Giving evidence in the hearing, the younger man’s father spoke of his “total shock and dismay” at his son’s arrest.
Justice Elkaim agreed with the boy’s father saying the pair’s actions were “out of character”, and that they “must not be allowed to join the criminal fraternity”.
He sentenced both to identical sentences of two-and-a-half years’ jail, suspended immediately, saying both were equally culpable for the offences.
As part of his rehabilitation, Scott has agreed to meet with his victims in a restorative justice program.