An armed robber has been sentenced over an offence at Goodna. Picture: Cordell Richardson
An armed robber has been sentenced over an offence at Goodna. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Robbery victim’s unusual gesture following apology letter

A SERVICE station attendant who shrugged off a knife-wielding robber later received a letter of apology from the offender.

An Ipswich court this week heard the attendant has since written back to the bandit, expressing good wishes for his future.

Details emerged in Ipswich District Court when a remorseful Zachery Gall was sentenced for the robbery.

Zachery David Gall, 27, from Riverview, pleaded guilty to committing armed robbery with violence in company at Freedom Fuels at Goodna on June 28, 2019.

Crown prosecutor Victoria Adams said the crime took place at 6.30pm when then 61-year-old victim Michael Bird was cleaning and had locked the front door.

Mr Bird then saw Gall standing outside. Gall said he wanted cigarettes.

The door was unlocked and when Mr Bird asked what brand of cigarettes he wanted, Gall put a plastic bag on the counter, showed him a kitchen knife, and said: “Fill it with cash and cigarettes. Don’t press any buttons. I don’t want to hurt you.”

Ten packets of cigarettes worth $329.98, and $540 in cash were stolen.

The car Gall used was caught on CCTV and he was later identified by a police photo board.

Judge Bernard Porter QC said it was a soft target, and he noted the letter to the court from Mr Bird who described the armed robbery as being “an unsettling experience”.

“The fact it appears that Mr Bird is someone who apparently takes it into his stride can’t be ignored (in penalty consideration),” Judge Porter said.

Defence barrister Scott Neaves said Gall had written to both Mr Bird and to the court, and he tended both letters for Judge Porter to read.

“His letter to Mr Bird is indicative of someone with genuine insight and remorse,” Mr Neaves said.

“He says he apologises and that he hopes that some day Mr Bird can forgive him.

“It is significant in that he sees that merely saying sorry isn’t enough.

“Mr Gall is not likely to commit such an offence again.”

Mr Neaves said Gall had not been lazy in jail but been working, cleaning, welding, and done a drug rehabilitation course.

“It was his debut in jail. An eye-opener for a still young man,” Mr Neaves said.

Judge Porter said the Court of Appeal had made clear that the armed robberies of such vulnerable targets required penalties that deter offenders, but also noted the circumstances.

“Mr Bird wrote back to him, saying thank you for your letter indicating that although it was a knife I do not feel I was in danger,” Judge Porter said.

“He finishes with good luck and I hope you can move on.”

Judge Porter took into account the seven months Gall had since spent in jail and reduced his potential head sentence to three years jail.

Judge Porter gave him immediate parole release.