26-year-old home invasion 'mastermind' sent to jail
TWO men who took part in a Bundaberg home invasion in which a four-wheel drive was taken and then burned have been sentenced - the final players with in the case to be dealt.
Justin Terence Litzow, 27, pleaded guilty in the District Court at Bundaberg to burglary by break at night on September 14, 2016; unlawful use of a motor vehicle; and arson of a motor vehicle.
Hadyn Shorten, 26, pleaded guilty to burglary by break at night; unlawful use of a motor vehicle; and arson of a motor vehicle.
Items stolen included a baby seat, a pressure cleaner, car stereo, solar regulator and tools.
Other co-offenders have previously been sentenced over the late-night home invasion including a teenage girl who wielded a hammer.
Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook said Shorten should spend four to five years in jail, saying he had been on a suspended jail sentence at the time.
He said Shorten was "the mastermind, the architect" behind the offences.
He said Litzow's involvement was limited and his culpability - which included driving some of the offenders afterward - was less.
Mr Cook said one co-offender, Adam Lye, 25, had received a three-year sentence with parole eligibility in February 2019 for his involvement.
Defence barrister Bill McMillan said Shorten was a disability pensioner who as a child was diagnosed with autism, Type 1 diabetes and ADHD, and who now cares for his mother after she had two strokes.
He had also been a user of ice but stopped using in jail.
Mr McMillan said Shorten's role was that of "a convenor" in a matter over a perceived wrong to recover money after mates fell out and which went awry.
Defence barrister Robert East sought probation for Litzow, saying medical reports showed he had Asperger syndrome and autism spectrum disorder.
Mr East said Litzow had not been fully aware of what was going on and had not been involved in the actual arson.
Judge Anthony Rafter SC said Shorten claimed a man owed him money and he assembled a group of people to go to the house to get it.
The man was not there but a woman and child were, who would have been frightened when masked people with a knife and baseball bat came into the house.
Judge Rafter said significant property was stolen including a 4WD worth $18,990, which was burnt.
He said both men were there when Lye set fire to it.
He sentenced Shorten to four years in jail, suspended after 12 months. He will be on probation for three years.
With a limited criminal history and his lesser role, Litzow received probation of three years, with convictions not recorded.