Benjamin Mark Bennett pleaded guilty to robbery in company over an attack on a teenage boy.
Benjamin Mark Bennett pleaded guilty to robbery in company over an attack on a teenage boy.

‘Thugs’ target boy in daylight robbery

TWO cowardly offenders who ambushed a boy to steal his scooter were labelled ‘thugs’ by a judge when they appeared in court this week.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC made it clear that he was appalled by their “deplorable and disgusting” conduct, as would be the rest of the Ipswich community.

In a Crown prosecution case before Ipswich District Court, Luke William Duncan, 23, from Booval, and Benjamin Mark Bennett, 19, each pleaded guilty to robbery in company on February 2 this year; and assault causing bodily harm while armed with an offensive instrument and in company.

Luke Duncan also pleaded guilty to two further charges of assault causing bodily harm; and one count of common assault by spitting.

The court heard the 15-year-old boy, who has personal health issues, was riding his scooter in the Riverheart Parklands in the middle of the day when he was robbed of the scooter and his sneakers.

When his father and brother later went to look for the stolen scooter they were assaulted.

Crown prosecutor Cameron Wilkins said Duncan had criminal history for violence that included previous jail orders.

These offences included kicking a man in the face and causing him to fall down stairs, and verbally abusing two men with a homophobic slur on a railway platform before punching one of them.

Since being charged, Duncan had spent nearly 10 months in jail.

Mr Wilkins said Bennett had one prior offence.

Mr Wilkins said there were three victims in the offences.

Because of the boy’s personal difficulties the robbery had worsened his issues and he’d suffered a lot since as outlined in victim impact statements from his family.

“Yes, he is now too scared to go out and ride his scooter, a tragedy,” Judge Horneman-Wren said, noting that the boy suffered punches to his head.

“Females were yelling abuse (at the boy). It escalated and as they were leaving they (Duncan and Bennett) picked up rocks and sticks, throwing them. One object struck the third complainant,” Mr Wilkins said.

“He (the father) suffered bruising to both eyes, and a cut to his lip.

“When arrested, both pointed the finger and blamed the other.”

Defence barrister Scott Neaves said Duncan had demonstrated a real difficulty in managing his behaviour and intends to seek professional help.

Defence barrister Cecelia Bernardin, for Bennett, said a factor to consider was his intellectual impairment that impacts his literacy and numeracy.

Ms Bernardin said the crime had been opportunistic and unplanned, and with his girlfriend pregnant Bennett was making plans for their future and intends to find work.

Judge Horneman-Wren was scathing of the conduct of both offenders.

“You set upon a boy in a public park with threats of violence and robbed him of his scooter and sandshoes,” Judge Horneman-Wren said.

“This was thoroughly deplorable conduct.

“You were found by his father and brother. Duncan did assaults causing bodily harm. Each of you threw rocks at them.

“Mr Duncan, you spat in the face of a person. It was particularly disgusting and abhorrent.

“The boy has difficulties. What you did has had a profound effect and he is too scared to go out and ride his scooter.

“It was in the Riverheart Parklands in the middle of the day. He was just trying to enjoy life and you two thugs turned up and robbed him.”

Duncan was sentenced to a three-year jail term with immediate parole, and ordered to complete a two-year probation order.

Bennett was sentenced to a six-month jail term, suspended for 18-months, and ordered to complete a two-year probation order.



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