ACT News

Men who robbed taxi drivers at knife point sentenced to prison

Two men accused of robbing taxi drivers at knife point have been sentenced to prison.

Albert Barker, 35, and Howard Hall, 28, robbed two drivers in December 2014 and January 2015. They attempted to rob a third but a police car turned up instead of the taxi, the court was told.

The court was told the offenders' modus operandi was similar in each incident.

A woman booked a taxi late at night or early in the morning. Once at the pick up point, Hall and Barker got into the taxi and threatened the driver with a knife while demanding cash.

They were arrested during a third attempt in January 2015 and refused bail. Both pleaded guilty in October to all three offences.

At the sentencing on Thursday, Barker's lawyer Tom Quilter called Barker to give evidence.

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Barker told the court he had struggled with drug addiction and found it difficult to get into rehabilitation programs while on remand in the Alexander Maconachie Centre.

Hall's lawyer James Sabharwal told the court his client had also struggled with a "severe" level of drug addiction and the crimes were committed in fuelling that addiction.

He said the offences were committed without physical injury to the drivers.

Prosecutor Katrina Mackenzie said the offences were serious and were on vulnerable victims, taxi drivers alone on the street.

While not sophisticated in planning, the men had attempted to conceal their identity, she said.

In the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday, Chief Justice Helen Murrell sentenced the two men to prison, taking into account both had pleaded guilty.

She said there were aggravating factors, including that the offence was committed in the company of a co-offender, and that the offenders possessed a weapon.

She said while both had expressed some remorse, having "two fairly large men threatening you must be horrific", and so the impact on the drivers was assumed to be significant.

Both had criminal histories, the court heard, with Hall's the more extensive of the two.

Barker was sentenced to a total of seven years and five months in prison. He will be eligible for parole on October 5, 2018.

Hall was sentenced to a total of nine years and nine months in prison. He will be eligible for parole on October 5, 2020.