A 26-year-old man who tasered a Ballarat supermarket worker during an armed robbery has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail.
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Zac Brereton, of Sebastopol, was sentenced in the County Court at Geelong on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to 23 charges relating to a drug-fueled crime spree in October 2017.
Brereton’s dangerous crime spree started on October 19 when he stole a car from a Delacombe car yard.
Later that night, the then-24-year-old attended a Ballarat supermarket where he filled a trolley with $385 worth of items.
He told the female check-out worker he needed to get his wallet out of the stolen car. He returned with a card and taser, which he used on the worker after the card did not work.
Brereton told her, “annoying people get tasered”, and he leaned forward and tasered her causing shock and a burn.
Despite being hurt, the worker tried to stop Brereton while another employee came to help. Brereton told this employee, “I will taser you, you dog. I will taser you”, before he left with the trolley of items.
The court was told the check-out worker had lost her sense of feeling safe in the community.
“But the thing that hurts the most is the feeling of being disposable. That someone could just, in a moment because of not getting what they want, can treat me like nothing,” the victim said through a statement.
Brereton’s offending continued the next day when he drove the stolen car dangerously away from police outside his Sebastopol home.
On October 22 he threatened a service station employer with the taser and a knife after they asked him to pay for the fuel he put in the stolen car.
Further dangerous offending occurred on October 23 when Brereton drove on the wrong side of the Glenelg Highway, reaching speeds of up to 150km/h, as he tried to evade police.
He eventually lost control of the car while travelling about 137km/h and crashed, ending up 30 metres into a paddock.
Judge Gerard Mullaly told Brereton his conduct involved aggressive violence, disregard for the safety and property of other and highly risky driving which endangered others, including police.
“This was appalling conduct of a kind that frightens ordinary members of the community,” Judge Mullaly said.
“You are not a young first offender with prospects of turning things around. You are sadly at an early age a recidivist offender with deep drug problems that have re-emerged quickly after you have been released from prison.”
Brereton pleaded guilty to 23 charges, including two counts of criminal damage, 14 counts of theft, three counts of conduct endangering persons and one count each of obtaining financial advantage by deception, armed robbery and assault.
He will be eligible for parole in four years and four months and has already served 458 days in pre-sentence detention.
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