A CAMPERDOWN man who used a screwdriver to hold up a taxi driver has been placed on a community corrections order.
Matthew Daniels, 21, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court to attempted armed robbery.
The court heard Daniels, who has a significant intellectual disability, was released from Warrnambool police station on Sunday, November 27 after he was arrested for being drunk in a public place.
About 6.30am Daniels was walking near the taxi rank at the corner of Liebig and Lava streets and the victim was in the driver’s seat cleaning the front console of his taxi. Daniels walked up to the front door, produced the screw driver and pointed it to the victim. He then told the victim to get out of the car.
The victim asked Daniels if he wanted money and Daniels again told him to get out of the car. The victim got out of the taxi and told Daniels to go away. Daniels began taking small steps and was backing off when he stabbed the victim in the stomach. The stabbing did not penetrate the victim’s skin and there was no bleeding.
CCTV footage from the incident was obtained and police contacted Daniels’ mother. He was interviewed by police and made full admissions. Crown prosecutor Tania Bolton said it was conceded a CCO was warranted given Daniels had no prior criminal history and his early plea.
The court heard Daniels was supported in court by his parents and had attended the Hampden Specialist School.
Daniels’ defence counsel said his client had autism and a cognitive impairment. He said Daniels was released from the police station, had no idea how he’d get home and did something incredibly short sighted. He said Daniels was continuing to see a psychologist and had strong support from his conscientious parents.
A victim impact statement was tendered to the court but not read out. Judge Liz Gaynor said the incident still affected the victim and he was scared and anxious, particularly in quiet traffic.
Judge Gaynor said it was the only job the victim knew how to do and he was often worried it could happen again. She said it was clear Daniels had very responsible parents and references from disability support service Cooinda described Daniels as a capable, trustworthy and valuable participant.
“The court has to think of the safety of the community,” she said. “What you did was very dangerous.” She said she accepted Daniels was sorry and remorseful but he had to understand if he offended again he would be sent to jail. She requested the sentencing remarks be sent to the victim and said the court sympathized with his ongoing suffering.