By James Atkinson
An appeals court has overturned an earlier decision to suspend a three-year prison sentence for a young offender who carried out a violent bottleshop hold-up.
On May 5 last year, the 21-year-old offender, Leon Bropho and two accomplices took alcohol from the Altone Liquor Store in Beechboro, Perth and attempted to flee without paying.
When the store manager tried to stop them, Bropho picked up a bottle of whisky and threw it forcefully at the manager from a distance of about two metres.
The bottle broke upon contact with his head and he fell unconscious to the ground. The manager had a depressed fracture of his skull and blood clots on his brain.
He eventually made a complete recovery from his injuries, but only after having six weeks sick leave from work.
The Supreme Court of WA previously ruled that Bropho should have his three-year jail term suspended on account of his youth.
But in recent weeks, the State of WA succeeded in appealing this decision, arguing it was "manifestly inadequate".
Jail the only option for vicious assault: Court
In ruling on the appeal, Justice Michael Buss said: "Cases where the offence of armed robbery has not attracted a term of immediate imprisonment are, as a matter of fact, exceptional."
He said the offence of stealing was "planned and premeditated" and the manager of the bottleshop was "viciously assaulted" to facilitate the thieves' escape.
"[Bropho] had a significant prior criminal record including previous convictions for aggravated armed robbery, aggravated burglary and common assault," said Buss.
He said that in his opinion, it was not reasonably open to the sentencing judge to suspend the three-year term of imprisonment.
"The suspension of the term of imprisonment was not commensurate with the seriousness of the offence," said Buss.
He re-sentenced Bropho to a term of three years immediate imprisonment.