Man jailed for replica gun threats at Tafe
BENJAMIN Edward Sutton appeared via videolink in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to going armed to cause fear near the Bundaberg Tafe facility earlier this year.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Stuart Allen said Sutton was walking past the smoking area at the Bundaberg Tafe, when words were exchanged between himself and "the victims".
Sen Const Allen said Sutton told the group words to the effect of "I'm going to bring something back to put holes in you" before leaving the grounds.
The court heard Sutton left the Tafe to a nearby residence and retrieved a replica handgun which he then took towards the educational facility.
"He obtained a replica handgun from the address and commenced walking towards the victims," Sen Const Allen said.
"As the defendant crossed the road, the defendant has raised the replica handgun and pointed it towards the victims, waving it around and holding the replica gun in a gangster-style grip, with the gun on a 90-degree angle.
"He then racked or cocked the replica handgun, pretending to prepare to shoot at people, this has caused obvious fear to the victims and they've fled in all different directions for fear of being shot."
Sen Const Allen said when police were notified they attended the scene, identified Sutton and did a search of the residence where they found the replica handgun along with some cannabis and a utensil.
He said with this particular charge he couldn't imagine an offence that would be more serious. "In an educational facility, in a public area causing fear. Obviously with media of recent times shootings in educations facilities at the forefront," he said.
"He set an intention to put holes in them and then come back racking what appeared to be a gun ... I would have thought it was a gun."
Defence lawyer Rian Dwyer said his client was only 21 years old and it seemed as though his mental health, while not diagnosed, was more consistent with anti-social personality disorder and substance misuse.
"He was taking cannabis quite regularly and heavily around the time of this offence," Mr Dwyer said.
"Significantly, he is still very, very young, at the time of his offending he was living with his mother and father and upon his release still has their unwavering support, he'll continue to reside with them.
"He is remorseful for it and does wish to apologise to the people if he could."
Bundaberg acting Magistrate Neil Lavaring convicted Sutton and sentenced him to nine months imprisonment.
He declared 59 days as time already served, with a possible release date of September 13.