Bay man pulls knife on taxi driver
A HERVEY BAY judge has blasted a man who tried to rob a taxi driver with a knife during a trip in Urangan.
Judge Richard Jones threw the book at Dylan Vernon-Hall in district court Thursday.
Judge Jones said taxi drivers provide an essential public service to the Hervey Bay community but "because of the nature of their jobs they are often in vulnerable positions."
Vernon-Hall pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery.
Crown prosecutor Brendan White said Vernon-Hall had been travelling in the taxi when he pulled a knife on the driver and demanded money from him on October 2 last year.
"He also threatened actual violence," Mr White said.
"The driver managed to get out of the vehicle and the defendant climbed out of the car."
The taxi driver was not hurt and was able to get back into the car and locked the doors so Vernon-Hall could not reach him.
"Vernon-Hall tried to grab at the door handle to regain access," Mr White explained.
He also threw a drink bottle at the car.
Mr White said the incident would have been terrifying for the driver.
Defence lawyer Warren Hunter said his client had not planned the incident and had acted in the heat of the moment.
"He acted out when he thought the driver was taking him to the police station," Mr Hunter said.
He argued there was no evidence that Vernon-Hall tried to use the knife when he wanted to get back into the car.
Mr Hunter said Vernon-Hall struggled with literacy and made full admissions to police during a recorded interview.
Mr Hunter suggested the events that happened after Vernon-Hall got out of the vehicle were in the hands of the driver.
"Had he feared for his life he would have left and not waited until the police arrived," he said.
He also told the court Vernon-Hall received a disability pension and suffered from depression and anxiety.
Vernon-Hall told the judge via video link he was sorry for his actions and was on drugs at the time.
"I want to be a respected member of society. Such actions are not in my nature," he said.
Judge Jones took the 24-year-old's nine page criminal history into account when sentencing him to two-and-a-half years imprisonment.
The 127 days already spent in custody were declared as time served.
A parole eligibility date was set for August 16.