16 May 2016

CCO's Increased on DPP Appeal

The Court of Appeal has substantially increased the length of Community Correction Orders (CCOs) imposed in two separate matters following appeals by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Outlaw motorcycle gang member Dennis Basic received a sentence of 23 months’ imprisonment and a 12 month CCO in the County Court on 14 December 2015, after pleading guilty to making an explosive device and possessing firearms, ammunition and ecstasy. At the time of sentence, he had spent 26-and-a-half months in  prison on remand.

Basic was charged after police executed a search of his premises and vehicle in October 2013 and found firearms and a silencer, a large quantity of ammunition, ecstasy and explosives.

He was also charged in relation to an improvised explosive device, which failed to explode, placed at a Hallam gym in September 2013.

The DPP John Champion S.C. appealed the sentence on the basis it was manifestly inadequate.

The Court of Appeal agreed that the sentence imposed in relation to the possession of firearms in furtherance of ongoing criminal activity was manifestly inadequate.

"It need hardly be said that the possession of such a large number of weapons, in the context of an ongoing war between two rival motorcycle gangs, and the use of weapons in aid of drug trafficking, called for a substantial measure of punishment ... significantly beyond the aggregate term fixed in this case," the Court of Appeal said in its judgment on 10 May.

However, the Court of Appeal said the circumstances had changed since the  December 2015 sentence  - Basic had been out of prison since then, had completed nearly all of the 100 hours of unpaid community work and had progressed his rehabilitation.

"In our view, the public interest can best be served by allowing the Director's appeal, making clear that the aggregate sentence imposed on the firearm offences was manifestly inadequate, and imposing a significantly more punitive CCO ..."

The Court increased the CCO from 12 months and 100 hours unpaid community work, to four years and 400 hours unpaid community work. View the judgment here.

In a separate judgment, also on 10 May, the Court of Appeal  increased the CCO component of the sentence imposed on Steven Kevin Grech, from three years to five years.

Grech had pleaded guilty in the County Court on 18 June 2015 to intentionally causing serious injury, The court had heard that Grech repeatedly hit another man in the head with a large garden stake, causing life threatening injuries, following a verbal altercation in a Footscray street in the early hours of 22 December, 2013. The victim, who had a broken leg and was on crutches, was struck a number of times  until he fell to the ground, and suffered a loss of consciousness and potentially fatal head injuries.

The DPP appealed the sentence of 12 months' imprisonment and a three-year CCO.

The Court of Appeal heard Grech had already served more than 600 days in prison on remand when he was sentenced, which was taken into account, and he had been released from prison on the day of sentencing.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the DPP that the sentence was manifestly inadequate, saying it failed to reflect the gravity of the offence - which was a vicious attack on a defenceless victim - or the need for deterrence and denunciation.  

It said difficulties would arise if Grech was re-sentenced to a further term of imprisonment, and it increased the CCO to five years, with 350 hours of unpaid community work. View the judgment here.

For further information contact:

Lisa Walker

03 9603 7493
0400 494 962