Home invasion driver ‘didn’t know there would be a gun’
A MAN who drove a vehicle to a violent home invasion has faced court four years after his crimes were committed.
Damien James Sbresni, 40, walked free from Ipswich District Court on Wednesday after convincing the judge he had put his criminal days behind him.
The court heard of the considerable efforts he had made towards rehabilitation.
Sbresni had also spent a lengthy time in jail for other offences.
He pleaded guilty to entering a dwelling with intent while armed in company and with property damage at Milora on November 25, 2016; robbery when pretending to be armed in company; two counts of drug possession on December 20, 2016; four counts of supplying dangerous drugs; two counts of possession of property used in a drug offence; two counts of possession of property suspected of being the proceeds of a drug offence; and unlawful possession of weapons.
Crown prosecutor James Feely said Sbresni and co-offender Michael James Rooney (from Bellbird Park and then aged 34), had been approached by an associate to do a home invasion.
When he did not arrive to drive them, Sbresni drove the two males to the house about 11am.
It was agreed that Sbresni was being sentenced on the basis he understood a home invasion was to take place.
"He did not drive them away given the course of events that occurred. He did not comprehend the actual level of violence regarding the striking of one person with a crow bar and the discharge of a firearm," Mr Feely said.
A couple inside the house saw Rooney outside armed with a sawn-off firearm.
The court heard Rooney demanded money.
It was refused and Rooney again demanded money before kicking the door and causing glass to shatter.
The three residents ran when Rooney entered the house and a safe was opened, with a coin collection and jewellery stolen.
The court heard the second intruder picked up a timber chair and struck the table causing the chair to shatter, and then waved a piece of timber at the residents.
One resident grabbed a chair to defend himself but it got stuck in curtains.
Mr Feely said Rooney pointed the gun at the resident who then ran across the road to a neighbour's house only to find no one home.
A black Holden SS Commodore that was seen to drive very slowly past the house had been driven by Sbresni.
Rooney told the male resident to "f**k off" or he would shoot him, and a shot was fired.
Rooney stole the victim's Subaru and police later gave chase before it crashed into a police car at Springfield Central.
Mr Feely said Rooney was found with a bolt-action rifle, zip locks, a roll of tape, and a beanie with holes cut for eyes.
Sbresni was not arrested until December 20, 2016.
Inside his car police found quantities of pure methylamphetamine, MDMA, $6289 cash, three gold bullion bars valued then at $1196 each, a flick knife and drug items.
A mobile phone contained texts revealing supplies of the drug ice.
Mr Feely said Sbresni had previously been sentenced in the Supreme Court for drug offences.
He said Rooney was sentenced to an eight-year jail term for his role.
Defence barrister Lars Falcongreen argued Sbresni was the driver only and not aware there was a gun involved.
"He has since put in 15-months of solid rehabilitation," he said.
"He is flourishing after years of decay. He has employment.
"His offending has brought upon him significant punishment already."
The court heard Sbresni had moved away from Ipswich and was living near Bundaberg.
Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC sentenced Sbresni to concurrent jail terms of four years and two years for the two home invasion related crimes. Both sentences were wholly suspended for four years.
Sbresni received 2 ½ years for the drug supply offences with immediate parole.