THE driver who helped an accused Portland murderer after a shooting incident has pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact.
Dylan Bernard Robertson, 32, previously of Portland and now of the Melbourne Remand Centre, was charged with the murder of Troy Hocking, 20, who suffered a gunshot wound on October 15 last year and died in the Royal Melbourne Hospital the following day.
A charge of murder against Mr Robertson was previously withdrawn by the Office of Public Prosecutions and he yesterday pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Supreme Court to the lesser charge.
A Warrnambool court was previously told a $65,000 drug debt was behind the fatal shooting of Mr Hocking.
Leonard Sciascia, 27, of Princes Highway, Heywood, has been charged with the murder of Mr Hocking in Portland and been committed to stand trial.
He has indicated he will plead not guilty to the charge.
Wade Landmark, 34, also of Portland, has also been charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder. He has indicated he will also plead not guilty.
Prosecutor Tim Hoare said Robertson was the driver of a vehicle that carried Mr Sciascia leading up to and after the alleged murder.
He said after the alleged incident Robertson drove Mr Sciascia and another man through a drive-in bottle shop to give them an alibi.
Defence counsel Michael Turner said his client had a history of alcohol and drug use, which could be seen by his criminal record.
He said at the time of the incident Robertson had separated from his partner and was living with his parents but he had been drawn to the drug culture and didn’t have the strength to deal with that situation.
Mr Turner said that his client regarded Mr Hocking as a friend, Mr Hocking owed Mr Robertson money but now the families of the two men sat on different sides of the court room.
The court heard that in the past 12 months Robertson had spent six months serving a jail sentence while the other six months (187 days) were counted as presentence detention.
The court heard that in a statement to police, Robertson said he heard someone say “no, no, no” and then heard a gun go off.
He said he did not know there was a gun present, although he saw it after the incident.
Mr Hoare said after the incident Mr Hocking was taken to Portland hospital, where he was admitted without a pulse and suffering wounds to his hand and lower left chest.
Mr Hocking underwent surgery to remove a .22 bullet but he had suffered excessive bleeding which led to cardiac arrest.
At 1am the next day he was flown to Royal Melbourne Hospital where he suffered multiple organ failures. His cause of death has been listed as a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Psychiatrist Lester Walton, in a report tendered to the court, said Robertson was experiencing a mix of emotions because he considered Mr Hocking a friend.
Mr Hocking’s mother Trudy Stef said she felt a failure as a mother as she had not been able to protect her son. She said the fact that Robertson was considered a friend of her family sickened her.
Ms Stef said that 12 months after the death of her son the pain and loss was now greater and “I don’t know how to go on”.
She said she felt like the worst mother in the world and no sentence for Robertson would ever change the fact that she had lost a son.
“It’s our life sentence,” she said.
‘‘This is now my life.
Robertson is expected to give evidence in any future trials of Mr Sciascia and Mr Landmark.