Armed robber has jail sentence reduced

Armed robber has jail sentence reduced

A KINGSTON man who fired a gun at a policewoman and and threatened to shoot another woman in a Southern crime spree has won an appeal to shorten his jail term.

The Court of Criminal Appeal yesterday overturned a 10 1/2-year sentence imposed on Rodney Gene Crosswell, 28, in November 2010. His sentence was reduced to eight years.

Handing down the decision in Hobart yesterday, appeal Justice Peter Evans said the original sentence was ``manifestly excessive''.

Crosswell pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer, stealing a car, unlawfully setting fire to property and perverting justice.

He also pleaded guilty to armed robbery and aggravated assault for pointing a loaded gun at close range at the face of a female customer at Claremont Newsagency, while demanding the owner show him to the ``big money''.

The robbery occurred just hours after he shot a 0.414-calibre, single-barrel, sawn-off shotgun at a policewoman from a moving car on the Brooker Highway at Risdon.

Constable Holly Dillon had been laying road spikes on the highway to stop the car.

At the time, sentencing judge Helen Wood said Constable Dillon had been shaken by the incident to the point she could no longer work on the front line.

``When wearing her police uniform in public she feels vulnerable, like a target,'' she said.

``The crime involving discharging a firearm in the direction of a police officer requires a sentence that makes it clear that such assaults upon police officers carrying out their duty to keep our community safe are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.''

Justice Evans said Crosswell's crimes were serious but did not warrant the sentence given.

``I am not satisfied that it can be said of the appellant that he is so incorrigible and unlikely to reform that he should not be made eligible for parole, or that the period of his parole eligibility should be minimal,'' he said.

Police Association president Randolph Wierenga said the appeal court's decision was disappointing.

``Every now and then we get a decision from the judiciary that seems to be in accord with the seriousness of the crime, the number of previous cases, and community expectations,'' Mr Wierenga said.

``The original sentence was one of those good decisions. The decision by the court of criminal appeal today is not.''

This story Armed robber has jail sentence reduced first appeared on The Examiner.