A jail detainee who had threatened to blow a woman's "brains out" with a gun consumed "prison brew" before going on a near-six-hour long "destructive rampage" that left a $4.6 million repair bill, a court has heard.
Garang Dau Deng, 23, was sentenced by the ACT Supreme Court last week to seven years and three months jail after pleading guilty to arson, aggravated robbery and property damage.
The court heard that on May 12 last year, when Dau Deng was in custody at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, he and other detainees were intoxicated after consuming what he described as "prison brew".
Their behaviour escalated and included making kill threats to the officers, throwing items at them and instigating a number of fights between themselves.
Corrections officers retreated to their station at the unit and a full lockdown of the centre was ordered so other officers could help.
During the revolt, Dau Deng was involved in setting fire to the officers' station, which became engulfed in large flames, causing the officers to retreat and thick black smoke filling the room within 10 minutes.
Officers used a hose to try to extinguish the fire, but Dau Deng continued to throw items - including a microwave oven - at the fire and ignored directions to move to the outside yard.
ACT Fire and Rescue put out the fire but Dau Deng was again involved another two fires in the yard that night, including him throwing a boxing bag into one of them.
During the five-and-a-half-hour ordeal, the offender also spat at officers and damaged various sections of the unit.
The court heard the estimated cost of repairs, inclusive of staffing resources, was about $4.6 million.
In relation to the aggravated robbery, Dau Deng, Carberry and Marley Hall went to a Gordon residential unit in the early hours of August 12 in 2020 and demanded money and drugs from a woman.
She was housesitting for a family member and denied knowledge of such matters.
Dau Deng became angry and pushed a gun into her face and said "do you want me to blow your brains out?"
Hall, in his late 20s, pressed a bayonet-style weapon against the victim's throat and said "don't lie to me" before he and Carberry ransacked the place, stealing $9900 worth of items, while Dau Deng remained in the bedroom.
After some time and after a police investigation finding evidence against him, Dau Deng went to the Woden Police Station to participate in an interview.
However, he told them a number of lies and was remanded in custody.
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Prior to the robbery on the same night, the trio tried to enter a Narrabundah residence but left after one of the occupants yelled "they've got a gun, call the cops".
Hall was sentenced in February to about five years in jail, while Carberry is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday for his role in the robbery after pleading guilty to his charges.
In sentencing Dau Deng, a former traffic controller and bricklayer, acting Justice Richard Refshauge described the jail offences as a "destructive rampage".
"Part of the seriousness of the crime is a realistic prospect that lives would be in danger," he said.
"The unit housing 36 detainees being taken out of service for some time would've put pressure on the prison.
"It was clearly a serious version [of the offence]."
The judge described the aggravated robbery as "clearly targeted" and said while no actual violence was carried out, the event "would have been terrifying for the victim" because she had a gun pointed to her head.
"This led to her suffering severe mental trauma and other consequences," acting Justice Refshauge said.
"How horrible for the victim of your robbery to have a gun pointed at her head and threaten to have her brains blown out.
"How horrible to burn the prison down not only for the corrections officers but also the other detainees."
The judge said it would be "a long time before you'll be back in the community".
Dau Deng had requested for a drug and alcohol treatment order as part of his sentence; however, he was ineligible as the maximum term in which such an order can be made is four years.
Acting Justice Refshauge imposed a shorter-than-usual non-parole period that means Dau Deng will be eligible for release in May 2025.
The judge also took into account the charge of attempted aggravated burglary, relating to the Narrabundah incident, during sentencing.
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Toby Vue joined The Canberra Times in April 2021 and is a court reporter after covering the round in NSW and Queensland. He has also reported on regional and rural affairs, local government and sport. He was a Sunday Canberra Times reporter. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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