Queen St Mall gunman could be out by September
A MENTALLY ill drug addict who sent one of Brisbane's busiest streets into lockdown when he pulled a pistol from his bumbag could be released as early as September.
Lee Matthew Hillier, 35, was sentenced to four and a half years jail when he faced Brisbane District Court on Friday for serious assault on police, weapons and traffic charges.
But he has already served 323 days in custody since the incident in the Queen Street mall on March 8 last year so, to reflect his guilty pleas, he will become eligible for parole on September 8.
Hillier, though, has a lengthy criminal history and is known for carrying guns in public places as security measure against his "enemies", so he will likely have a tough time convincing the Queensland Parole Board that he should be released.
Judge Terry Martin said the public and police could not have known the gun Hillier was waving was not loaded and that he had no ammunition for it.
But he said he had to sentence Hillier on that basis, also noting the man was in mental turmoil at the time.
"The truth is you caused havoc in the city. A major part of the city was closed down," he said.
"Many ordinary citizens were put in fear and or greatly inconvenienced.
"It seems inevitable to me that businesses must have suffered financially.
"It seems clear to me you are only alive today because of the professionalism and courage of police involved and their concern for your wellbeing."
Hillier told the court on Thursday that he had hit "rock bottom" when he asked police to shoot him but was now pleased he was alive for his "three beautiful children".
Judge Martin deplored Hillier's repeated relapses into a "savage drug addiction" and an appalling criminal history but noted his disadvantaged upbringing.
"As a result of your failure to get your life in line, you have inflicted suffering, loss and inconvenienced a great many members of the community over many years," he said.
Judge Martin took into account serious injuries to Hillier's hands - the right caused when police shot him in the mall and the left when a home-made firearm went off in Morayfield two months prior - which affected his ability to type and eat.
The Crown had unsuccessfully argued Hillier was a danger to the community and should be sentenced to eight years jail with a declaration he serve at least 80%.