No jail time for man who robbed deaf victim

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A SEBASTOPOL man who held a deaf man’s arms back while a co-accused repeatedly hit him with a crushed bourbon can during a robbery received a six-month suspended sentence on Wednesday.

Michael Dawson, 21, pleaded guilty to robbing the victim of a 10-pack of bourbon cans on June 11, 2013, after being refused alcohol, along with the underage co-accused, at Premix King at Howitt Street, in Wendouree.

A County Court sitting in Ballarat heard Dawson, along with two co-accused who can’t be named for legal reasons, were refused alcohol at 9pm after producing fake identification.

At 9.30pm the group, lurking in the store’s car park, saw the victim leave with a 10-pack of bourbon cans and followed him down Lake Street.

Crown prosecutor Patrick Bourke said the victim was hit in the back from behind and held by the arms while being repeatedly struck in the face with a crushed can.

The three men left with the victim’s alcohol and $460, believed to be his social security payment.

The victim suffered cuts to the lip and soreness and swelling to the left side of his face. 

Dawson’s defence lawyer, Jason Gullaci, said his client played “the least active role of the three”, as he didn’t throw any punches.

He said Dawson, who is six months into a year-long prison sentence for theft and robbery, took part oin the act spontaneously.

“It wasn’t pre-planned. It’s a classic case of three young adults acting together who clearly had a common aim when they approached the victim,” he said. 

Mr Gullaci said a suspended sentence offered his client – whose drinking was “problematic” at the time of offending – the best chance of rehabilitation. 

In sentencing Dawson, Judge Paul Grant said the victim was a vulnerable young man with a hearing impairment. 

Mr Grant said Dawson was an immature young man who was easily led.

“Neither your interests or those of the community are best served by additional jail time,” he said.