Men sentenced over bizarre Grindr robbery

Two men involved in a plot to rob a Casuarina man during a Grindr date have been sentenced.

Stewart John Saunders, 44, and Jason Mark James, 29, were convicted for robbery in company in the Lismore District Court on March 19, 2021.

The court heard the pair, along with their co-accused Thomas Alfred Grover of Kingscliff, had robbed a 69-year-old man of his laptop, keys and iPhone during an incident on February 12, 2020, in a Casuarina unit.

James had organised to meet the victim at his Casuarina house after chatting for several hours on the Grindr dating app, the court heard.

James, Saunders, and Grover borrowed a car before arriving at the unit about 2.30am.

The court heard Saunders and Grover waited outside the unit complex while James and the victim consumed methylamphetamine in the man's kitchen before having consensual oral sex.

While the victim took a shower, James made multiple phone calls, however, the Crown Prosecutor said there was no evidence as to who exactly he spoke to, but it was alleged it was either Grover or Saunders.

The court heard Saunders received a text from James at 3.14am and he then proceeded to enter the building with Grover, as seen on CCTV.

James opened the front door and let in Saunders, according to police facts.

The court heard the victim had been struck before he offered his wallet and cash.

A laptop, iPhone and keys were also taken, the court heard.

Saunders told the court he wasn't aware there was a plan to rob the man but simply thought James had attended the property to retrieve money owed to him.

Judge Dina Yehia said while it is unclear whether there was a plan to rob the man prior to arriving at the premises, the text message from James to Saunders led to a "irresistible inference" that both parties were aware of a plan to commit an offence.

Saunders was sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment, with a two years and three months non-parole period.

James was sentenced to a total of five years imprisonment, with a two years and six months non-parole period.

Grover has previously been sentenced for their involvement in the robbery.



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