Two knife-wielding robbers who threatened a Wagga taxi driver then stole money and a phone will remain behind bars.
Jai Coe and Robert Campbell-Betts, who were 19 and 20 years old respectively at the time of the offences, appeared at Wagga District Court on Tuesday for sentencing.
Both had earlier pleaded guilty to robbery in company and aggravated take and drive a motor vehicle with a person in it while armed with an offensive weapon.
Court documents reveal that a taxi driver was tasked to pick up two people from Tolland on April 21, 2020. Campbell-Betts sat in the front while Coe got into the rear and said "just drive".
The victim was told to stop at the corner of Heath Street and Fernleigh Road in Turvey Park, where both men pulled out knives.
Coe leant over and put a knife to the driver's chest, and one of them said "give us all your money". Fearing he would be stabbed, the driver gave them $150 and his phone.
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Campbell-Betts put his knife close to the driver's chest and told him to get out. The taxi driver ran away as Campbell-Betts jumped into the driver's seat and drove off. They drove for six minutes before abandoning the taxi.
At court on Tuesday, Judge Gordon Lerve said both offenders were entitled to a 25 per cent discount on their punishment due to their early pleas of guilty.
"The robbery was clearly planned to some extent, given they both were armed with knives," he said.
"However, the planning could not be said to be substantial. There were no other threats than the use of the knife but no doubt that instilled significant fear into the victim."
Judge Lerve said that neither men were entitled to leniency based on their records.
He also referenced the evidence given by Campbell-Betts' mother, Rebecca Campbell, who said a volatile relationship with an ex-partner had impacted her son.
Judge Lerve said he accepted Campbell-Betts had a "disadvantaged upbringing" and suffers from various mental health issues.
"The offender was intoxicated at the time of the commission of the offences and the offences were committed for money to buy drugs," he said.
In reference to Coe, Judge Lerve said he could not find that he was unlikely to reoffend but said there was also justification for special circumstances due to the need for rehabilitation.
"[He] began using cannabis at the age of 14 and smoked several grams per day until 18 when he commenced using methylamphetamine," he said.
"The history of disadvantage includes in utero exposure to heroin."
Campbell-Betts was sentenced to four years and nine months in jail, which is backdated to begin on April 23 this year. He is eligible for release on June 22, 2023.
Coe's was sentenced to four years and nine months in jail and this was backdated to commence from October 28 when a previous intensive corrections order ended. He is eligible for release on December 27, 2023.
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