Dramatic citizen’s arrest on man wielding crowbar
PEDALLING by on his bicycle Stephen Bush skidded behind a couple, wielding a crowbar while demanding they hand over their stuff.
The male victim resisted before two lads driving past chased Bush down on foot when he tried to flee the scene.
Ipswich District Court heard the two men carried out a citizen’s arrest on the would-be robber and held him until police arrived.
Clad in a red hoodie and seated quietly in the court dock, Stephen Dennis Bush, 23, pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery with violence when armed with an offensive instrument at Redbank Plains on December 10, 2019; and possession of a knife in public.
The court heard he assaulted a young man with the intent to steal, threatening violence when armed with the crow bar.
“Yes I’m guilty,” he said.
Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallis said at 23, Bush had an unenviable criminal history and had spent 120 days (only 10 days could be declared) in custody before receiving bail.
He said Bush had served jail time for bashing a 15-year-old girl unconscious in a random street attack after drinking home-brew vodka.
Mr Wallis said Bush demanded the 20-year-old male hand over his stuff and raised a crowbar in his direction.
His intended victim struggled with Bush over the weapon who was disarmed.
“He then had the good fortune as two good Samaritans (driving past) stopped and chased him on foot to the Redbank tavern,” Mr Wallis said.
“He produced a knife and one male held up the crow bar.
“He did not threaten the men but done only to get away, to make good his escape.”
Mr Wallis said Bush entered the tavern but been tackled by the good Samaritan who restrained him until police arrived.
he Crown sought a head-sentence of between 12 and 18 months to reflect the seriousness of his crime and history but to reflect his co-operation to reduce it down by four months to between eight and 14 months (to serve one-third).
Mr Wallis said it was then open to the court whether Bush should serve actual jail time, although a short time spent in custody would not likely assist anyone
He said the COVID-19 situation was also a mitigating feature and a suspended sentence with probation would be appropriate.
Defence lawyer Daniel Boddice, instructed by counsel Cecelia Bernardin, said Bush has become an alcoholic at the age of 14, suffered abuse and been homeless living on the streets.
On the night of the attempted robbery Bush was drinking to excess.
Mr Boddice sought a wholly suspended jail term and a supervised probation order, or a jail term no more than 10 months with immediate parole as penalty.
Judge Orazio Rinaudo said the attempted robbery took place at 10.20pm when the young man and a woman were walking along Argyle St.
“You came up behind them on a bicycle. Skidded to a stop and you produced a crow bar saying give me everything you’ve got. Handover your stuff,” he said.
When the young man told Bush “all I have is my crappy phone” he turned his attention to the female. The man tried to grab the crowbar off him in a scuffle.
Judge Rinaudo said two males driving past stopped and chased him down the road where one cornered him.
Bush produced a knife.
He noted Bush’s prior offence of violence, saying Bush had also been intoxicated when he punched a 15-year-old girl in the face then left her lying unconscious on the street with a fractured eye socket.
Judge Rinaudo said Bush’s mother had died when he was aged only six and he’d suffered when placed into care.
Evidence before him was that by the age of 14 Bush was drinking a cask of wine a day and living on the streets.
He had expressed shame for the assault on the girl and was now the full-time carer of his father, and also a father himself.
Judge Rinaudo said Bush was a person who did not handle alcohol well and needed to realise that and to do something about it.
He sentenced Bush to a 14 month jail term but with four months previously spent in jail he reduced this to 10 months – suspended it immediately for 2 ½ years.
For the knife offence Bush received a 12-month supervised probation order.