Armed robber says he was coerced into guilty plea
A WOULD-BE armed robber, who left empty-handed after an East Ipswich shop owner swung a hockey stick at him, has told Queensland's highest court that he was misled and coerced into pleading guilty to a host of charges.
Jason Vincent Lemmo, 37, was sentenced to 12 years jail for 18 armed robberies, including the Ipswich one where he was armed with a knife, mostly between May and July, 2009, and June and August, 2011.
He hit fish and chip shops, bottle shops, video shops and a pizza shop, among many more.
The robber was declared a serious violent offender which means he must serve 80% of his sentence, though he had already served 657 days when he was sentenced in the Beenleigh District Court.
Lemmo, who appeared in the Court of Appeal via vide-link from prison on Friday, said he felt his barrister had opted for the easy way out and had not represented him well.
"I'm not saying I didn't do these charges ... (but) I don't know which ones," he said.
Lemmo said the 12 years was not manifestly excessive if he did all the offences but he believed it would not be "so high" if he had not pleaded guilty to all the charges.
He admitted he had dirty urine samples in jail but claimed he did not have a criminal history, ran a successful business for 10 years and now had children.
"I've got my drug habit back. I can't get off," he said.
Crown prosecutor Phil McCarthy said the psychologist report submitted at sentence clearly showed Lemmo was aware of the charges he was pleading guilty to.
He said that undermined Lemmo's contention he was misled and coerced into pleading guilty.
The court reserved its decision.