Sandy Beach man jailed over violent home invasion

A SANDY Beach man who fled to Canada after committing a violent home invasion in Wooli has been sentenced to three-and-half years in jail.

In Coffs Harbour District Court, Joseph Gordon-Smith, 27, was convicted of armed robbery in company.

Three co-accused men have denied involvement in the robbery and their matters are still before the court.

The charge dates from October 13, 2014, when a Wooli couple were allegedly threatened with a firearm, a bb-gun, baton and a taser at their Owen Cl home.

The court heard the male victim was known to Gordon-Smith and they had met on several occasions. Gordon-Smith was also aware of a safe containing cash at the victims' property.

The male victim told the court on the day of the offence he heard a loud V8 engine in his street, before answering knocks to his door.

The court heard Gordon-Smith and the co-accused - whose faces were disguised - approached the door and the victim saw one of the men holding a shortened firearm.

This person allegedly said "get on the f**king floor" and pushed the barrel of the firearm against the victim's chest.

There were repeated alleged threats to "get your hands behind your back and get on the ground" as the victim was slapped in the face.

The victim told the court Gordon-Smith said "put your hands behind your back and we won't hurt ya… we just want to rob you and go."

The victim's wife was holding her 18-month-year-old son, and broke into tears as her husband's arms and legs were tied.

The male victim told the court he was struck to the side of the head with what appeared to be the firearm, and was asked "where's the keys to the safe?"

The victim complied, offering the combination to open it, but an alleged offender returned moments later saying "that's not it, that's not all your money. Where's the rest?"

The accused then demanded keys to the victims' Range Rover, Holden Commodore, Toyota Hilux, and Mini.

The male victim again complied.

After searching upstairs, two of the offenders allegedly returned to the lounge room with a taser and BB gas-powered pistol and said "you're f**ked now."

The court was told a BB gun was allegedly put down the front of the victim's pants as the taser was applied to his back and neck.

After the co-accused allegedly demanded jewellery, the female victim fled to the kitchen, picked up a knife and pointed it towards Gordon-Smith.

One of the men, holding a baton, allegedly walked to the kitchen and said "give me the f**king jewellery."

The male victim told his wife to comply, and three rings - including her wedding and engagement rings - were allegedly pulled from her fingers.

Gordon-Smith then released the male victim's ties and demanded that he sign registration papers for the vehicles.

As the accused fled the scene, one of the men allegedly told the victim "this stops right here" before telling Gordon-Smith "they know what happens."

In all, around $8000 in cash, a $2000 gold necklace, two mobile phones, three rings, and two cars were stolen from the victims' home.

Gordon-Smith told the court he did not receive any proceeds from the robbery, although "it would have been nice 'cause I was involved in it."

After the incident, Gordon-Smith hitch-hiked to the Gold Coast and bought a plane ticket to Malaysia before continuing to Canada where he remained on a working visa.

En-route, he exchanged $2805 for Canadian and Malaysian currency - claiming the cash was from his brother-in-law, not proceeds from the robbery.

While in Canada, Gordon-Smith spoke to Australian detectives investigating the robbery and named three men as co-offenders.

Gordon-Smith returned to Australia on April 11 last year, a day before his Canadian visa expired, and was arrested at Sydney Airport.

Gordon-Smith told detectives at the time of the offence he owed one of the accused $5000 for the purchase of methylamphetamine.

He admitted he was the only offender who knew where the victims lived, but claimed he was forced to go the property and did not know the victims were going to be robbed.

Crown prosecutor Angela Bowens submitted armed robbery "is to be regarded as an offence of the utmost gravity… which must carry a full time custodial sentence."

The Crown conceded that Gordon-Smith was eligible to have his sentence reduced as he gave evidence against the co-accused.

Appearing before Judge Clive Jeffreys, Gordon-Smith pleaded guilty to the offence and was sentenced to three and half years in prison, commencing from the date of his arrest.

He is eligible for parole on October 10 this year.



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