Westminster: man who pulled gun on woman who asked to buy drugs on Facebook given jail term

Westminster: man who pulled gun on woman who asked to buy drugs on Facebook given jail term

A MAN has been sentenced for two years over an armed robbery in Westminster where he threatened a woman with a handgun to pay for methamphetamines after they agreed to a deal via Facebook.

Supreme Court Judge Joseph McGrath sentenced Matthew James Rice (22) last month to two years jail suspended for 12 months with supervision and programs such as psychological, counselling and substance abuse as indicated by the community corrections officer.

But Judge McGrath suspended the sentence, taking into account his early guilty plea and the fact that he had been in prison since April.

“If you do not offend in the next 12 months and comply with all relevant supervision and program orders, the two years imprisonment will no longer apply for breach purposes,” he said.

Rice went to the woman’s home about 3am on April 14, in response to a lengthy text conversation with the woman about her Facebook advertisement for drugs.

Rice agreed to supply the woman with 1.75g of methamphetamines in exchange for $465.

Once he arrived, he waited for her to bring the cash from inside the house before pointing a small black handgun at her.

She screamed out and took several steps backwards towards her house but he stepped forward and pointed the gun close to her head and took the money.

The woman’s partner came to the front door and Rice fled.

He was charged by Mirrabooka Police on April 24.

Judge McGrath said Rice was not a person of good character despite having a “virtually” clean criminal record.

“The only conviction you have at this stage is having a prescribed illicit substance in your oral fluid when driving,” he said.

Judge McGrath said one issue was whether the handgun was real or fake, which Rice claimed was inoperative.

“Ultimately, you have pleaded on the basis that you had possession of a handgun… whether it was inoperative, and even accepting that it was so, the effect on the victim is exactly the same,” he said.

Judge McGrath said the sentence took into account that Rice had been in custody since April 24.

“The other aspect is that you are committed to the Teen Challenge Rehabilitation Training Centre course, which can and has a history of success with persons of your background,” he said.

“I wish to give you that opportunity in the community.”

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