Newcastle courthouse. A MAN who had his left leg blown off during a bungled break-in at a remote property at Teralba has avoided a jail term due to the“considerable extra-curial punishment”and lifelong injuries he suffered.
Benjamin Rhodes, 32, of Booragul, who now requires a wheelchair to get around, was sentenced for his role in the 2016 break-in in Newcastle District Court last week, with Judge Roy Ellis placing him on a one-year and nine month intensive corrections order (ICO), which is a form of custodial sentence served in the community.
His mate and co-offender, Ryan Graham Jewell, wassentenced to a maximum of three years in jail, with a non-parole period of two years in the same court in October.
The pair were confronted by a homeowner while breaking into a farm shed on The Weir Road in the early hours of May 14, 2016 – the second time in a few hours that the pair had broken into the property in search of power tools and firearms.
Rhodes was shot in the leg at close range, while Jewell sprinted across the property, shots ringing out over his head, and jumped into Cockle Creek.
After he was shot, Rhodes went to run, but he could only crawl.
He was eventually found by a police dog lying in long grass in a ditch, bleeding profusely from a serious wound to his leg.
He had lost so much blood he was considered critical and was in a coma when he arrived at hospital.
Rhodeshad to have his left leg amputated and now requires a wheelchair to get around, the court heard.
The homeowner has not been charged over the incident.
Rhodes had served four months in custody before being granted bail, a factor Judge Ellis took into account during sentencing.
The charge the pair pleaded guilty to – aggravated enter dwelling with intent – carries a maximum of 14 years in jail.
But Judge Ellis said the fact Rhodes had lost his leg was a considerable futuredeterrent.
“When you’re thinking about robbing a rural property, you might want to think twice,” Judge Ellis said in October.
Judge Roy Ellis.
“I think the loss of a leg is … it’s not something that just relates to now,” Judge Ellis said to DPP solicitor Geoff Kidd.”Not that we’re joking, but one could say you’ve already got your pound of flesh.”