Thief pleads for a fresh start

A YOUNG Ballarat man jailed last year over a string of violent robberies appeared in court yesterday, pleading guilty to fresh charges. 

Tai Sharp, 21, who was jailed for two years last August, appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to criminal damage and contravening a family violence order.

Appearing via video link from the Fulham Correctional Centre, Sharp said he wanted a fresh start at life, adding that his time in custody had been the longest he’d been clean from drugs since the age of 14. 

Reading a summary of his latest offending to the court, police prosecutor Senior Constable Clint Prebble said Sharp contravened the family violence order on August 6, 2012, when he abused the victim after an argument. 

The court heard Sharp told the victim: “If you don’t stop this I’m going to flip.”

Senior Constable Prebble said Sharp then smashed a photo on a wall and continued to abuse the victim. 

The court heard Sharp was interviewed by police on November 17, 2012, and denied anything had happened. 

Sharp was jailed last year after pleading guilty in the County Court at Ballarat to a string of robberies and armed robberies that he committed around the Ballarat area. 

The County Court heard in August last year that Sharp and two other offenders went on an armed robbery spree around Ballarat in November 2012. 

In one instance a co-accused allegedly held an imitation firearm to a victim’s head while Sharp kicked out the man’s legs and stole his phone. 

In another incident, Sharp took the imitation firearm from his co-accused and directed members of a group to separate, while threatening to kill them. 

Supported by his mother and sister in court yesterday, Sharp’s lawyer told the court that Sharp had had “a very fractured childhood” and had an intellectual disability, anxiety and depression. 

The court heard that Sharp has completed a number of courses while in prison and wanted to “get out of Ballarat” upon his release. 

Magistrate Ian Von Einem warned Sharp of the seriousness of family violence, adding two months to his sentence. 

The two months will be served concurrently.