Gympie man faces court after botched taxi driver robbery
A GYMPIE region father of three has avoided jail after he and a mate donned hoodies and tried to rob an elderly Cooloola Cove taxi driver while making him think he was being held at knifepoint.
Zebulen Charles Campbell, 28, had been drinking with his co-accused on the night of April 26, 2016, when they decided to call a taxi with the intention of buying more alcohol.
The cab driver, who had shown up at the address earlier in the night but left when nobody came outside, was again called for a pickup by Campbell's girlfriend, arriving at about 1am.
The duo entered the back of the cab in their hoodies, after which the driver put the back light on and asked them where they wanted to go.
The victim was then told to turn the lights off, with Campbell's co-accused then demanding "give us your f---ing money” multiple times.
The court heard the victim observed the co-accused to be holding something in his hand, which he believed was a knife. The driver told the pair he had spray and picked up a can, causing them to flee the taxi.
After the complainant returned home and called the police, officers went to the house and conducted a search warrant on May 3, returning again on May 5 to interview Campbell.
Campbell denied he had been involved in the robbery in that interview, and wasn't arrested until November 2017 after a member of the public made a statement to police.
Campbell pleaded guilty to one count of attempted armed robbery in company in the Gympie District Court this week.
Judge Suzanne Sheridan sentenced Campbell to two years' jail but released him immediately on parole.
Judge Sheridan noted Campbell's offending had been done against a vulnerable member of the community and that there had been an element of pre-meditation involved.
She also noted that Campbell had displayed genuine remorse and showed a desire to turn his life around and be a better example to his three boys.