Thug who abducted a taxi driver and forced him to drive at 200 mph before trying to blow up a gas station has been sentenced to SLASH imprisonment
- Man who has abducted cabbie, tried to set fire to gas pumps has shortened prison time
- Judges discovered that the man acted violently after his depression medication was changed
- His sentence was reduced to four years with a non-conditional period of two years
A man who kidnapped a taxi driver and forced him to drive at speeds up to 200 km / h before repeatedly attempting to set gas pumps on fire at an NSW gas station has won a shorter prison sentence.
The usually & # 39; mildly mannered & # 39; Russell Lee Masters acted on such & # 39; n violent and & # 39; n bizarre & # 39; way after his depression medication was changed and he did not follow his doctor's directions, judges found on appeal.
Masters, 37, was imprisoned in the NSW court in August 2018 for a period of five years with a unconditional release of two years and six months after he was found guilty of holding the taxi for advantage and destroying property by fire.
A man who abducted a taxi driver and forced him to drive at speeds of up to 200 km / h before repeatedly attempting to burn gas pumps at an NSW gas station has won a shorter prison sentence (stock)
On Monday, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal shortened its term to four years with a non-conditional release of two years.
The court found that the sentencing judge did not take Masters' reduced moral debt into account because of his mental state at that time, as well as his good prospects for rehabilitation and the unlikely nature of his recidivism.
The judge described the facts as & # 39; somewhat extraordinary and, in some respects, bizarre & # 39 ;.
One night in October 2017, Masters went to the taxi rank outside the Manning River Hotel in Taree and wanted to be taken to Bulahdelah, 73 kilometers away.
Because he only had $ 35.75, the taxi driver agreed to drive him as far as the money would bring him and drop him off at a place where he could then hitchhike.
But Masters later threatened to attack the taxi driver if he didn't keep driving, so he admitted, thinking he might be armed.
The usually & # 39; mildly mannered & # 39; Russell Lee Masters acted on such & # 39; n violent and & # 39; n bizarre & # 39; way after his depression medication was changed and he did not follow the directions of his doctor, judges found in appeal (stock)
The taxi reached speeds of 200 km / h after Masters continued to tell the taxi to drive faster and Masters became aggressive when the taxi slowed down to prevent a collision or approach a turn.
The victim managed to apply the brakes and somehow pull the taxi to a gas station in Coolongolook before he escaped, although Masters first hit him.
Masters walked to another gas station on the other side of the road and repeatedly left behind the fuel left in the hoses and lit it with a cigarette lighter.
When the fires went out, he collected fallen branches and leaves from a nearby park and placed them on top of the fuel in an attempt to make a larger fire, by removing and draining 17 fuel hoses.
The court ruled that the sentencing judge did not take Masters' reduced moral guilt because of his mental condition into account at that time, as well as his good prospects for rehabilitation and the improbability of his recidivism (stock)
"Even if the moral guilt of the applicant was reduced as a result of his mental health problems, the kidnapping case was an extremely serious crime of its kind," the court of appeal said.
& # 39; It must have been a frightening experience for the victim, even though he showed a lot of stoicism and resourcefulness.
& # 39; The attempt to fire or blow up the gas station was also serious at first glance, although there was no rational or bad motive and the attempt was spontaneous, amateurish, and somewhat farcical. & # 39;
But the court noted that his mental health problems played a very important role and were the underlying cause of his behavior.
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