Two Canberra men have been jailed for incarcerating and attacking a man with a tire iron over a $ 75 drug debt.
Jake Blackburn, 22, and his 20-year-old co-criminal – who cannot be named for legal reasons – met the victim at the Lanyon Marketplace in the southern part of Canberra in April, where they confronted him because he was one day late in paying his debts.
They instructed the victim to get into the back seat of a stolen car they were driving in before demanding his cell phone and password.
When the two men discovered that the victim had been in contact with a woman they knew, they became agitated and drove off.
They later stopped and demanded the victim crawl through to the hatchback’s boot when Blackburn tried him.
They stopped the car at least twice more, after which Blackburn hit the victim with a tire iron, causing cuts to his head while the 20-year-old filmed the incident on his phone.
The victim was eventually stranded – without his shoes or telephone – with only a bottle of water and a gray sweater, which he was told to wrap around his bleeding head.
He was found by a nearby worker in the early hours of the next morning, after which police were called and he was rushed to hospital.
When Judge Michael Elkaim handed down his verdict to the ACT Supreme Court, the judge said the victim feared for his life.
“[The victim] was threatened with serious consequences if he did not fulfill his financial obligations to the offenders, “he said.
‘Terrible’ crime over ‘just $ 75’
Judge Elkaim told the court that the incident was clearly not intentional.
“As I read the statement of facts, the confinement was not pre-planned, but seems to have developed after the initial discussion with [the victim] and examination of his cell phone, “he said.
He also noted the difficult background of both men, especially a report on Blackburn.
“Blackburn presented himself as a tired and frustrated young man who showed a strong desire for stability and normality in his life,” Judge Elkaim said.
“He has a consistent history of psychological and emotional adversity that has helped him reach his current circumstances.
“All of these personal factors illustrate the background of a person who, one might say, was destined to fall under the law.”
But Judge Elkaim said it did not diminish the seriousness of the crime.
He said he had seen the video of bashing.
“It was awful,” he said.
“[The victim] may not have made a victim impact statement, but that does not diminish the terror he must have felt.
“He’s probably worried about further retaliation. After seeing what he went through, I don’t blame him at all.
“And all this for only $ 75.”
Both men were at that time on parole and were returned to prison after being arrested.
Both pleaded guilty to the charges of involuntary imprisonment in the ACT’s Supreme Court on Friday.
Blackburn is serving two years and eight months for the crime and will not be eligible for parole until 2024.
The 20-year-old has been sentenced to 12 months in prison, with a release period ending in 2023.