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Thief in $10,000 raid given chance to go straight

Date

Michael Inman Court Reporter

The inside man in an armed robbery that netted more than $10,000 has been given six months to turn his life around, or go to jail.

Douglas Geoffrey Gooding can expect a suspended sentence if he can stay clean and find a job.

But Justice John Burns told the 23-year-old to expect time behind bars if he did not comply with strict bail conditions. Gooding pleaded guilty in the ACT Supreme Court to joint commission theft.

Gooding's co-offender, Tayo Ryan Emery, used a fire exit to enter the Italo-Australian Club in Forrest before midnight on July 28 last year.

Emery held a knife to Gooding's throat as he was counting the takings in an office, and said, ''righto c---, you know what this is.''

He then took $10,000 and escaped.

Much of the robbery was recorded by security cameras.

The crime was first reported as an aggravated robbery, but police became suspicious on discovering that Gooding had left two doors unlocked. The pair were charged after an investigation involving phone intercepts.

Gooding's lawyer, Jack Pappas, said the pre-sentence report painted a picture of hope for rehabilitation.

Mr Pappas said Gooding had made reparation for the stolen money and had been offered a chef apprenticeship.

Justice Burns deferred sentence for six months on Wednesday, but imposed strict bail conditions.

Gooding was ordered to find employment, submit to drug testing and accept supervision of the director-general, which could include undertaking rehabilitation programs.

Justice Burns said if Gooding could comply for six months, then the sentence would be deferred for another six months. After one year, the judge would then decide sentence.

"The matter is now back in your hands," Justice Burns said. "If you can [comply with your bail conditions] you won't go to prison."

Emery, a 27-year-old with mental health and drug abuse problems, was sentenced in December to six months' jail for his role in the theft and unrelated drug dealing.

Emery spent three months in full-time custody and is now serving a further three months in weekend jail.

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