Sgt Stephen de Lorenzo, the police officer shot in a Sydney robbery in 2009, calls the eleven-year sentence for the armed robber a joke and savages the judge who handed it down.
A man who shot a policeman and terrorised hostages in a bungled Sydney hotel robbery has been sentenced to at least 11 years in prison.

Dramatic scenes unfolded in the courtroom today when Tevi Koloamatangi, 41, was handed his jail term for seven offences including shooting Sergeant Sergeant Stephen de Lorenzo with intent to murder at The Lakes Hotel in the eastern Sydney suburb of Rosebery in May 2009.

Sergeant de Lorenzo, who was first on the scene, was shot in the right shoulder while Koloamatangi was hit three times in a shootout during the four-hour siege.

Sergeant de Lorenzo had told jurors he was trying to protect three staff members who had been taken hostage, including one who was held at gunpoint throughout the ordeal.

In evidence, he described people screaming and whimpering, including one man who yelled "God save me! God save me!", and said he was concerned the hostages would be "executed".

Emad Raad, 27, who drove Koloamatangi to the hotel and remained on lookout until police arrived, was sentenced to a minimum term of five years.

Moments after NSW District Court Judge Deborah Sweeney sentenced the offenders, Sergeant de Lorenzo was visibly angry with the result and directed hostile remarks to family members of the offenders in the public gallery. ( extracts from May 23 2011 Sydney Morning Herald)

The police sergeant's agony is fully understandable. I really don't know what was in the mind of Her Lady Judge Sweeney. From the news report, I can see this is a conviction after trial instead of a guilty plea at the outset. That means to say the defendant has one mitigation less and should not enjoy the normal one third discount of sentence for a guilty plea. The defendant was armed, holding hostages, discharged firearm and injured the policeman. Putting all the factors together, a sentence of anything less than 25 years is more than a joke. The instant sentence is manifestly inadequate and wrong in principle.

I don't know what mitigations were advanced on behalf of the defendant. Supposing he has a previous unblemished record, the total sentence in this case still falls short of one can expect for the gravity of the offences. No wonder a bill will be introduced in the parliament to constitute a mandatory life term for cop killers. It is not the law which fails us, the people adjudicating the laws do. A blatant disregard to the reality of the criminal world will certainly send a wrong message to the diabolical transgressors.

The police association should strongly express their disgruntlement to the DDP who should put the sentence right by bringing it to the appellate court. The appeal is not for avenging the injuries of the sergeant but to safeguard the average Sydneysiders roaming in the street without the fear of falling prey to armed robbers. Extreme leniency of sentence undermines the faith of people in the system. Extreme leniency connives an assent and encouragement to atrocious crimes.