Kids distressed as trio break into Ipswich home, steal sword
IT WAS the crying of four petrified children that alerted a criminal to a family's location during a dramatic break-in.
Jarra Yillam Briggs yelled "where are you" as he smashed up the bottom floor of an Ipswich house with his accomplices as they tried to snatch a samurai sword.
But after he made a dramatic escape by jumping out the top floor window onto the carport roof, he was caught by sniffer dogs and dragged away by police.
The former Indigenous School Captain went before the Charleville Magistrates Court with the charges of stealing, entering the dwelling of a victim and wilfully damaging property, and failing to appear at Ipswich Magistrates Court.
The court heard the 18-year-old and his two accomplices forced entry into a Redbank address, while four children under the age of 10 were home on August 10.
Police prosecutor sergeant Caroline Boodnikoff said an ongoing argument had been occurring between the victims and the offenders, including Briggs.
"That escalated to a point where the defendant and the co-offenders have attended that address and forced entry to the building," sgt Boodnikoff told the court.
"At approximately 10.53pm the defendant and co-offenders attended the address and forced entry to the building."
Sgt Boodnikoff said Briggs and his accomplices smashed the two glass doors at the rear of the building.
"The victims and witnesses barricaded themselves inside a room located on the second level," sgt Boodnikoff said.
After the victims called police, Briggs and his accomplices started smashing up windows, walls, furniture and a television on the lower level.
Briggs then went upstairs yelling "where are you?"
But the crying children gave Briggs a hint at where they were hiding.
Sgt Boodnikoff said the co-accused accomplice started hitting the locked door with a shovel, creating a large hole in the door, allowing the co-accused to see through.
The adult male victim was holding the door closed while armed with a baseball bat.
Briggs and his accomplice demanded the victims hand over money and a samurai sword.
A victim surrendered the samurai sword and $60 to the co-accused, then pleaded with the offenders to leave the house for the sake of the children.
But the offenders refused to leave and instead, smashed more property downstairs.
The court heard police arrived as they continued to damage the house.
Police then arrested an accomplice who was spotted holding the samurai sword.
"The defendant and [the co-accused] ran to the second level of the house and jumped out a window onto the carport," sgt Boodnikoff said.
"The defendant jumped off the roof and ran from police."
But the other accomplice was arrested on the second level.
Briggs was tracked down by the dog squad and subsequently arrested and taken to the Ipswich watch-house.
All three offenders were released on bail with an order to appear in the Ipswich Magistrates Court, but Briggs failed to appear.
When Briggs attended the Charleville Police Station with his mother, he didn't provide any reason for failing to appear.
"These are serious matters," sgt Boodnikoff told magistrate Peter Saggers.
"It can be likened to a home invasion."
Mr Saggers said Briggs was lucky he wasn't charged that way, otherwise he would have wound up in a higher court.
"That's probably fortunate as well he's not charged as an armed robbery," he said.
Solicitor Laurie Parker told the court that he had explained the seriousness of the offence to Briggs.
"He's been a party of what's going on there at that time," Mr Parker said.
"He's told me, that to the best of his knowledge, he didn't know there were any children in the house.
"Jarra tells me he was in a rut at the time - he was intoxicated, he went to this person's house… and was told there was a samurai sword at this person's place, so he's gone over there to get it."
Mr Parker said in relation to Briggs' failure to appear, the defendant didn't want to 'disappoint' his mother and sister, the former who was in the court at the time.
Briggs' mother Anna Marie Briggs told the court that her son had an offer to work with an Indigenous elder at a property at Windorah, and Briggs had the means to be transported there.
"This is the support the footy club's giving to Jarra," she said.
"The conditions are if he goes out, he goes out for three months until Christmas."
Mr Saggers said community services "wouldn't be practical" if Briggs was planning on working on the farm.
But he warned Briggs that he would need a backup plan in life if his football aspirations fell through.
"There's a lot of blokes that want to be footballers… and only a very small proportion of them make it," Mr Saggers said.
"This is a really serious offence, make no mistake.
"To go into somebody's house and cause that damage, and to take things.
"As I said to sgt Boodnikoff, this could have been charged with a more serious offence and could have been a home invasion."
He warned Briggs that he could have gone to jail if he was facing a home invasion charge in District Court, even without any previous history.
"With samurai swords involved, anything could have happened," Mr Saggers said.
Briggs was slapped with 18 months of probation, without a conviction recorded.