Armed robber shaves a small amount of time off sentence
A MAN who appealed his sentence for an armed robbery, has had his sentence reduced by a mere two days.
Mohammed Zreika, 41, from the Gold Coast, was sentenced to six years' prison in Lismore District Court last November.
But the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal has found there was a "calculation error" in the sentence imposed on November 26 last year.
Zreika had pleaded guilty to two charges of robbery armed with an offensive weapon and one charge of attempted armed robbery.
His legal representative argued the sentencing judge had "erred in failing to give effect to a finding of special circumstances" and made an error in calculating the date his sentence should be backdated to.
He was successful on the second ground of appeal only.
Zreika drove from Queensland to Casino on March 6, 2018 and loitered for some time near one of the town's hotels before he walked into the residential area shortly after 10pm.
Armed with a concealed pruning saw, he told two initial victims he was armed with a gun while he asked for another man, who he claimed owed him $30,000.
He stole an iPhone, a case containing a bank card and licence, as well as a wallet.
Justice Wright said Zreika was serving a suspended sentence and probation for Queensland matters at that time.
Zreika had been in custody since his arrest on October 4, 2018.
While the Judge "expressly stated" he would begin Zreika's sentence
a year into his sentence for a separate firearms offence, this did not occur.
Instead the judge had begun his sentence two days later, on May 8, 2019.
"There has been a calculation error in the commencement date of the sentence," Justice Wright said.
"This type of minor calculational error is not a legal error which vitiates the sentencing judge's exercise of the sentencing discretion.
"It is an error which this court can remedy by a simple and non-contentious adjustment of the sentence imposed … without the need to exercise afresh the sentencing discretion."
Zreika will first be available for parole from May 6, 2023 and his full sentence will end two years later.