7th October 2021

The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) has been highly critical of the sentencing practices of Victorian Courts where judges persistently impose less than maximum sentences, which are set by Parliament, on habitual criminals.

The Herald-Sun of 3 October 2021, an article by Rebekah Cavanagh, describes the criminal career of one John Lindrea, a criminal who has been in jail for all but four years of his adult life and is currently awaiting sentencing for a violent armed robbery where a firearm was held to the head of an innocent victim.  The terror of this for the woman victim can only be imagined.

Lindrea has prior convictions for a double murder, bank hold-ups and escaping from prison.  When arrested for his latest armed robbery, Lindrea refused to identify his co-offender or disclose what happed to the firearms involved.  The firearms were found hidden at the scene of the robbery seven months later.

On 4 October 2021, John Lindrea was sentenced to eleven and a half years jail with a minimum of eight years and nine months before being eligible for parole.

The maximum penalty for armed robbery in Victoria is 25 years’ imprisonment. However, the most common imprisonment length for armed robbery from 2014–15 to 2018–19 was three to four years.  Why?

What is going on in our courts?  Where are the rights of victims being addressed?  What regard did the court have to the terror of the victim in Lindrea’s case having a loaded shotgun put to her head and expecting to be killed?

Lindrea is a double murderer and a convicted armed robber with a long criminal history.  Surely we can expect our courts to impose maximum sentences, as set by Parliament, in cases like that of Lindrea.  Only a maximum sentence could keep us safe from this habitual violent offender.

If judges continue to ignore Parliament, the CAA calls on Parliament to create a Commission of Judicial Performance Review with the capacity to sanction judges who consistently ignore Parliament and act as a law unto themselves.