A 29-year-old man, who was dosed up on the drug ice when he and a co-accused robbed a Victorian bottle shop in May, has apologised to the victim and community.
Micah David Walker and Matthew Peter Dargan, also 29, entered Daylesford’s Cellarbrations bottle shop wearing hoods on May 2 at 6.30pm to steal $11,745 worth of alcohol and cigarettes.
Dargan – who was carrying a knife tucked in his pants – entered the store first, walked behind the service counter and started pushing the store assistant and demanding cash.
When Walker entered the store, he briefly pointed an imitation handgun at a customer, who had a 17-month-old baby in a pram, before pushing the gun’s barrel into the store assistant’s face.
A second store assistant working at the back of the shop helped the father and baby hide in a fridge before he walked towards the front of the shop with his hands up.
Dargan and Walker continued to fill pillow cases with bottles of alcohol and cigarettes before leaving the store and running down a laneway.
Watch the CCTV footage here.
Walker was arrested at a Sunbury property on May 16, while Dargan was arrested at a Heathcote property on May 30.
They appeared in the dock together at the County Court at Ballarat on Friday for a plea hearing.
Walker read an apology at the start if the hearing, saying the armed robbery was not something he normally did.
He said he was struggling with homelessness, ice and mental health issues at the time, and he once experienced a traumatic experience when he was stabbed.
“I am truly and deeply sorry for the impact it has had on your life,” said Walker, referring to the victim.
“I am sorry. I hope you can get any help you may need.”
Defence barrister Camille Woodward said Walker, who has never had a conviction, could not understand his level of violence during the robbery.
“I can’t offer any further explanation other than Mr Walker is (aghast at) his own behaviour,” Ms Woodward said.
She said the fitter and turner and tiler had turned to self-medicating with illicit drugs to help deal with life-long stresses.
Ms Woodward urged the court to consider combining a jail sentence with a court order, which Crown prosecutor Patrick Bourke and Judge Michael McInerney disagreed.
“It’s a violent crime committed on an innocent person,” Judge McInerney said.
“The community would be outraged if I sentenced your client to one years’ jail. For a serious crime there is no possibility to use a combination sentence.”
Walker, a father-of-one, was supported in court by his mother and brother’s former partner.
Defence barrister Jennifer Clark, for Dargan, said she was unprepared for the plea hearing and requested an adjournment.
She said she did not receive the brief materials until Thursday and had not had an adequate opportunity to speak with Dargan.
Judge McInerney adjourned the hearing to March 23 in Melbourne to allow time for reports to be prepared.
Dargan and Walker each pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery, while Walker also pleaded guilty to committing an indictable offence while on bail.
They will be sentenced at a later date after the hearing on March 23.