Pair accused of post office armed robbery face court

TWO men allegedly involved in an armed robbery of Black Hill Post Office last February fronted Ballarat Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Brett Patrick Cummins, 41, of Ballarat, appeared on two counts of armed robbery and one count each of theft of a motor vehicle, being a prohibited person possessing a firearm and trafficking heroin. 

Co-accused Ian Ralph Gilbee, 52, also appeared on one count each of armed robbery and theft of a motor vehicle.  

Charge sheets allege Cummins and Gilbee robbed $2800 cash and two packets of cigarettes from the Black Hill Post Office on February 26 last year. 

Cummins and Gilbee are alleged to have possessed a firearm at the time of the offence and to have stolen a Ford Falcon on the same day. 

Cummins also appeared in court on allegations he trafficked heroin between March 14 and July 29, 2013. 

Prosecutor Kim Swadesir began the two-day committal hearing by calling three witnesses. 

Prosecution witness Matthew Denouden told the court on Thursday he had made admissions to police last July that Cummins had committed an armed robbery at the Black Hill Post Office. 

When asked by Gilbee’s defence barrister Olivia Trumble, Mr Denouden said he had told police Gilbee also committed the offence.

The court heard Mr Denouden had picked up Cummins and Gilbee in a car park at the corner of Doveton and Howitt streets in Ballarat before driving to Melbourne to buy drugs on February 26.

He said Cummins and Gilbee arrived in a “gold-coloured Falcon”, exited the vehicle and got into his car.

Another prosecution witness, Kelly Briody, said she had observed two men wearing hoodies in a gold-coloured sedan parked outside the post office on the day of the incident.

“The passenger was slumped to the side of the car with a hood over the face,” Ms Briody said. 

“There were other cars, but (the behaviour of the men in the gold car) seemed suspicious and that behaviour took my attention.”

The case before magistrate Michelle Hodgson will resume on Friday.

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