LONG-time Albury drug user Liam Ashley Cotter was told by a District Court judge yesterday that he would be given the opportunity to turn his life around.
“Our community will be advantaged if this offender can be rehabilitated,” Judge Colin Charteris said when sentencing Cotter in the District Court at Albury.
But Judge Charteris said if Cotter failed to grasp the opportunity, he would be the master of his own destiny and go back to jail for a longer period.
Cotter, 25, appeared for sentence on two charges of aggravated break, enter and steal on two businesses in Urana Road at Lavington on November 4, 2009.
He was assisted by another man breaking into a chiropractor’s premises and a hairdresser.
Security camera footage showed a Hyundai Excel driving nearby before the break-ins, during which $200 was stolen from the chiropractor and $300 to $350 from the hairdressing salon.
The following day, police saw Cotter and his accomplice driving in David Street and stopped them.
They had similar clothing to what was seen on surveillance footage and a search uncovered rubber and cloth gloves and a jemmy bar in the spare tyre well.
Judge Charteris was told Cotter was under the influence of drugs when the offences occurred.
His drug taking started when he was just 12 years old and on the streets in Sydney after being unable to live with his father.
He began using cannabis and heroin before coming back to Albury at age 13.
His drug habit in Albury involved amphetamine, cannabis and morphine.
It was conceded by Cotter that he has a long criminal history.
“I am sick of what I have done for many years,” he said.
“I regret what I did. I feel sorry for the victims.”
Judge Charteris said Cotter was still a young man with much of his life ahead of him.
“There is a long road for him to travel.
“He has to give up drugs,” Judge Charteris said.
Cotter was sentenced to a minimum period of 18 months in jail with a further two years on parole.
The sentence was backdated to take into consideration his time already spent in custody making Cotter eligible for release on November 24 this year.