Bottle shop ram raider given early parole

A MAN who used a stolen four-wheel drive to ram raid an Evans Head bottle shop when he was 18 has a chance for earlier parole due to his youth and intellectual disability.

Glen Eric Cowan was sentenced in June last year to three years and nine months' jail, with a non-parole period of two years and three months, after pleading guilty to aggravated break and enter and larceny.

He stole a Nissan Patrol from a Casino home and drove off from a petrol station without paying for his fuel in September, 2013.

Later that night, the same vehicle was used to smash the front doors of the bottle shop beside the Illawong Hotel in Evans Head.

Six people, including Cowan, jumped out of the four-wheel drive and ransacked the liquor store, taking alcohol, cigarettes and lighters worth $8093.07.

The ram raid caused $8209.50 damage to the store.

The four-wheel drive was discovered burnt out in a Casino park the next morning.

A police officer recognised Cowan from security footage taken at the bottle shop and tracked him down.

Officers seized bottles of alcohol, cigarettes and lighters taken during the break-in.

Cowan's original sentence has now been quashed in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

Justice Geoffrey Bellew found Cowan's young age, intellectual disability, deprived background and good prospects of rehabilitation were not given enough weight in his original sentencing.

"I am satisfied on the evidence that the applicant has used his time in custody productively," he said.

"He has pursued employment, as a consequence of which he has acquired new skills.

"He has also sought to pursue educational opportunities."

The court ruled the 20-year-old should be made eligible for parole yesterday.

His original sentence was reduced by nine months to three years.



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