‘You were a regular, people knew you.’

A man has been placed on a two-year community corrections order and banned from entering a TerryWhite Chemmart after he robbed it with a knife

Anthony Standen, a 57-year-old man with an intellectual disability and mental health conditions, pleaded guilty to a charge of armed robbery and one charge of resisting an emergency worker on duty, as well as to a summary offence of unlicensed possession of cartridge ammunition.

In sentencing Mr Standen, his honour Judge Tinney outlined the offences, including the occasion in December 2016 when the offender went to a Melbourne pharmacy.

“You demanded some diazepam. You were in an agitated state from the outset.

“As you know, you went around the wrong side of the counter and were told you were not allowed there. You yelled out that you did not need a script. You demanded the drug and you swore as you did so,” the judge noted.

“When the frightened pharmacist offered up two tablets to try and get you to leave, you then demanded the box and then did something very foolish indeed. You pulled out a knife.

“You waved the knife around demanding your medication. There were 10 customers and six members of staff all within the premises. So this was a frightening event, no question about that. It ended with you leaving with a box of diazepam.

“Police were called and you were pretty easily identified. You had no disguise. You were a regular, people knew you. Staff knew you.”

When police went to Mr Standen’s home, they located some shotgun cartridges “amidst piles of junk”.

Mr Standen was a “prolific” hoarder, the judge said, but he should not have kept the shells when he found them.

Mr Standen had initially been cooperative but resisted arrest, and by the time he was taken to the police station was not fit to be interviewed. He spent nine days in custody.

The judge said that while there was no victim impact statement from the pharmacy’s staff or customers, “this was a frightening incident for those people within the chemist shop”.

“You intended to scare the pharmacist and have him actually comply and give you the medication. There is no doubt your conduct was frightening and it had an impact obviously in the short term. I am not able to find any long term impact though I am confident indeed that your direct victim in the chemist shop will never forget this crime.”

The judge noted that Mr Standen was learning about the way his conduct could impact others but continued to have problems with impulse control.

“It was hardly well thought through to enter a shop where you were well known, a chemist shop, without any disguise and then to pull out a knife and rob them at knife point,” the judge said.

“Your capture was inevitable. You were not chasing wealth. You were not chasing money. You wanted some medication.”

Mr Standen required a great deal of support, ideally including “some level of services under the NDIS”.

He was placed on a community corrections order until August 2020.

The maximum penalty which could have been imposed for the armed robbery was 25 years but the judge noted the offender would be particularly vulnerable in custody.

Conditions were placed on the order which specified that Mr Standen remain under the supervision of a community corrections office for the full period, as well as that he not enter or remain in the pharmacy he robbed. This latter was already specified under the conditions of his bail.

“And that is now going to continue under this order,” the judge said. “You are not to go near the place.”

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