Terrifying 14-month crime spree puts three men in jail
THREE men who used fishing code to plan repeated armed robberies may have thought they were outsmarting the authorities.
But Coffs Harbour trio Leonard Hoskins, 38, Mathew Shane Gray, 31, and Jason Keith Dungay, 27, will spend years in bars over a spate of incidents over 14 months from early 2016.
Judge Wells sentenced the men via video link from Lismore District Court when the three men appeared in Coffs Harbour District Court on Monday.
The men had pleaded guilty to their charges relating from armed robberies at the Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club, Wauchope Country Club, Macksville Ex-Services Club and the Toormina Hotel with their theft of more than $125,800 in total.
They were also charged with a host of offences of conspiring to commit further robberies at various locations across the region.
Before one robbery, Hoskins said in messages to his partner that he was "getting ready to go fishing", the court heard.
His partner said she hoped he caught a "big fish", to which Hoskins replied: "yeah, we hungry".
In other intercepted messages, Dungay told another man he was "making mad earns".
Referring to victim impact statements from statements from staff members of the robbed venues, Judge Wells noted they had remained scarred.
One man often woke "with a picture of two men charging at him with a knife", while other reported sleepless nights and ongoing pain from the incidents, in which some were threatened with violence from the knives and other weapons the men wielded.
In sentencing the men, Judge Wells said they shared an "extremely deprived and dysfunctional upbringing".
Also common to them were "significant" substance abuse and health difficulties.
The court heard Hoskins, who was on parole for a Queensland armed robbery at the time of these offences, had an "atrocious criminal record" while the other men had a limited history.
Judge Wells said the repeated use of a fishing "code", their organisation of transport, disguises and the like indicated there were concerted planning efforts involved.
The three men had each pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery armed with an offensive weapon, aggravated break-and-enter and further charges of conspiring to commit armed robbery were taken into account upon sentencing.
Judge Wells sentenced Dungay and Gray each to 12 years' prison with an eight year non-parole period.
Hoskins received 14 years and six months' prison, 10 years of that without parole.
Their sentenced were backdated to the dates of their arrest in 2017.