Offender sentenced in Katoomba Court returns to area for a third robbery offence

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Despite robbery rates remaining stable throughout NSW over the past year, this has not been the case for one unfortunate sports club in the Blue Mountains, which was robbed once in the 90s, in 2001 and then again in 2013.

The most recent case was finalised in the Parramatta District Court last month.

The culprits, Paul Goodfellow and Maxwell Garnett, wore masks when they stole $10,000 cash and terrified staff and patrons present at the club in Hazelbrook.

Several people were threatened with an axe and seven were held hostage while the pair stole money from the safe, the poker machines and ATM.

And the 63-year-old bar owner Les Brett was held up just two weeks after Goodfellow had been released from prison.

One staff member had to resign after the incident, requiring counselling and medication to help with her trauma.

They ebven took Brett’s car with them when they fled.

But what makes this more astonishing is that this is the THIRD time that Goodfellow has held up this Blue Mountains sports club.

Recidivism is a big problem for NSW authorities – and around the rest of Australia too.

Statistics consistently show that it is a small amount of people who commit the majority of crimes.

One study by Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) compared police and court data to look at recidivism.

The rate of reoffending within 12 months according to this 2012 study sits at just over 20%.

Working out how best to prevent offenders from repeating their crime is made even more difficult by the results of another study undertaken by BOCSAR.

It found that a stint in prison is not necessarily effective in dealing with repeat offenders.

The study compared those who spent time in jail and those who received suspended sentences, and found that those with a jail time were, if anything, actually more likely to reoffend.

While the report from BOCSAR doesn’t argue against imprisonment, it warns that we shouldn’t foster beliefs that it will decrease reoffending.

After all, one of the many justifications for imprisonment, the deprivation of liberty, is to protect the community from future crimes.

So while an offender is actually in prison, the risk to the community can be diminished until they are released.

In this case, which has been reported as “disgraceful”, the Parramatta court judge who heard the case of Goodfellow and Garrett sentenced the pair to relatively modest sentences considering the gravity of offence and their criminal history.

The pair could be out of jail well before the end of the decade.

While both have a maximum prison term of just over seven years, they could be out on parole much earlier.

Goodfellow is eligible for parole in early 2019, and for Garnett, September 2016.

The club owner was very disappointed about the sentences.

Armed robbery, according to the 1900 Crimes Act comes with a maximum jail term of 25 years. The sentences that the pair received are just a fraction of this.

Unsurprisingly, this was not a first offence for either man.

Goodfellow had previously been sentenced by the Katoomba Court House and had spent time behind the walls of Cobham Juvenile Justice Centre.

The defence lawyer who appeared for Goodfellow argued that several mitigating factors were present: no one was harmed, Goodfellow hadn’t fired the rifle, and the rifle wasn’t even loaded.

But even an unloaded or imitation gun is a dangerous weapon for the purposes of the definition of the law.

Garnett’s evidence is that he was affected by drugs – either ice or meth – at the time of the robbery and that he woke up in the middle of the bush with little memory of the incident.

The pair will obviously not be able to replicate this crime while they are within bars, but what about on their release?

The results from BOCSAR don’t look too good in terms of reoffending.

Recidivism is a problem that the criminal law system continues to struggle with.

However, studies have shown that intensive rehabilitation programs can have an impact upon a person’s likelihood of committing further offences in the future.

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About Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Specialist Criminal Lawyer and Principal at Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Sydney’s Leading Firm of Criminal & Traffic Defence Lawyers.

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