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Guard who organised inside job heist comforted victim, court hears

Date

Louis Andrews

An image captured from CCTV footage of the Weston Creek Labor Club heist.

An image captured from CCTV footage of the Weston Creek Labor Club heist.

A former security guard who committed an inside job robbery comforted one of the traumatised victims in the aftermath of the crime, a court has heard.

And the ACT Supreme Court has heard Adam John Street was previously diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after being involved in a fatal stabbing outside a Canberra nightclub.

Earlier this year a jury found the one-time soldier and martial arts aficionado guilty of aiding and abetting two other men to commit aggravated robbery on the Weston Creek Labor Club in February 2008.

Adam John Street.

Adam John Street. Photo: Facebook

Street was on shift at the club when the masked men, acquaintances of Street, burst into the club about closing time on February 27 armed with a rifle and a baseball bat.

Street, the duty manager and the barman were all bound with zip-ties and ordered to lie on the floor.

The robbers collected more than $120,000 in cash and made off in a car stolen from one of the club employees.

Maurizio Rao.

Maurizio Rao. Photo: Marina Neil

After the incident, Street crawled into the bar area, got a pair of scissors and cut his colleagues' ties.

Phone taps would later show Street was in contact with the two men before and after the robbery, and one of his co-accused identified Street as the mastermind.

The former duty manager entered the witness box today at Street’s sentencing hearing to read out a victim impact statement.

Since her ordeal more than four years ago the NSW woman has participated in three sentencing proceedings and two trials, after a first jury was discharged.

The witness said she was unaware of Street’s role in the crime until police charged him months later, and she had developed a “good working relationship”.

“After the occurrence of the armed robbery Adam kept in contact with me,” the emotional witness read.

“Asking me how I was going and what I’d heard from police.”

The victim said Street told her he too was struggling to cope with the trauma.

“I confided in Adam about living in a place where I didn’t know many people and no longer felt safe,” she said.

“Hearing that the police believed Adam had been involved in the robbery and that he had in fact been charged with this, was completely gut-wrenching for me.”

She spoke of her betrayal, wondering “how someone could act as though they genuinely cared about what had happened to me, and how I felt”.

Consulting psychiatrist William Knox told Justice John Burns he diagnosed Street with post-traumatic stress disorder back in 2007.

Street was working as a bouncer outside Cube nightclub in Civic in the early hours of July 15, 2006, when a fight broke out.

In the ensuing brawl Street’s boss, club owner Maurizio Rao, fatally stabbed Nato Seuala in the head and abdomen.

Mr Rao and Street were badly injured.

The club owner was later tried for murder and acquitted on the grounds of self-defence, with Street giving evidence in the trial.

Dr Knox said Street’s trauma stemmed from “a situation that was effectively a life or death situation and having his face damaged, and never having been hurt that way before – he was a proficient martial artist - and then living with the real risk of physical harm from other parties”.

But the doctor said at the time of the Weston robbery Street was suffering more from the “ongoing effect of his original trauma” rather than PTSD.

And under cross-examination from prosecutor Trent Hickey, the witness agreed he did not know much about the circumstances of Street’s crime.

The defence called two other witnesses who testified to Street’s good character, successful tiling business, sporting accomplishments and loving family.

But one said Street maintained he was “fitted up” for the robbery, and Mr Hickey said they got to know a different person from the Street who committed crimes.

In 2008 Street was jailed for conspiring to commit an aggravated robbery in NSW.

And he also had previous convictions for assault and stalking dating back to 2000.

Street’s legal team suggested their client’s actions in the last couple of years showed he was rehabilitating.

Street’s barrister, Richard Thomas, said a lengthy non-parole period would be “counter-productive to those rehabilitative steps”.

Justice John Burns will sentence Street in December.

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