Man shot in leg during bungled break-in at Teralba

Newcastle courthouse.
Newcastle courthouse.

A MAN who had his leg blown off during a bungled break-in at a remote property at Teralba could avoid a jail term due to the “considerable extra-curial punishment” he has suffered. 

Benjamin Rhodes was in a wheelchair when he appeared in Newcastle District Court for sentencing on Friday, while his co-accused, Ryan Graham Jewell, was in custody. 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. 

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. 

Rhodes had 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.

The pair appeared in court on Friday for sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated enter dwelling with intent, which carries a maximum of 14 years in jail, and larceny.

"I think the loss of a leg is ... it's not something that just relates to now,” Judge Roy Ellis said to DPP solicitor Geoff Kidd. "Not that we’re joking, but one could say you've already got your pound of flesh."

He sentenced Jewell to a maximum of three years in jail, with a non-parole period of two years, meaning he will be eligible for release from custody in October, 2018. 

Judge Ellis indicated he would sentence Rhodes to one year and nine months, but adjourned the matter to see whether Rhodes was suitable to serve the term as an intensive corrections order (ICO), in lieu of full-time jail. Rhodes had served four months in custody before being granted bail and Judge Ellis indicated that if unsuitable for an ICO, he would consider sentencing Rhodes to a non-parole period of about that length.