By Cam Lucadou-Wells
An ice-fuelled armed robber who held up taxi drivers and a retail worker at knifepoint in Dandenong and Doveton in mid-2016 will be deported to Iran upon his release from jail.
Mohammad Nosrati, 23, swiped a 35-centimetre knife towards a lone female worker in a Dandenong store at night in late May, County Court of Victoria judge Michael Bourke said in sentencing on 2 July.
The victim showed “remarkable resilience and courage despite being very frightened”.
She activated an alarm and threw a DVD case at Nosrati, who grabbed $160 and scratched her arm with the knife.
She stated to the court that she was no longer “bright and bubbly” at work and became more nervous in certain situations at work.
In six days in late June and early July 2016, Nosrati also robbed three taxi drivers of their phones – two of them by knifepoint.
In each case, Nosrati targeted isolated and vulnerable victims, the judge noted.
The robberies were funding a daily ice-smoking habit. At the time Nosrati was drifting between a Dandenong boarding house and homelessness.
According to a psychiatric report, Nosrati was affected by auditory hallucinations as part of a likely schizophrenic condition.
He’d been self-harming at the time, and previously diagnosed with personality disorders and depression.
At the age of 16, Nosrati fled Iran with his father who was targeted by police for being “anti-government”.
As political refugees, they arrived by boat at Christmas Island, and settled in Sydney.
His father later re-joined Nosrati’s mother and sister in Iran.
In Melbourne, Nosrati studied Year 11 and worked in a pizza shop but “struggled and declined here”.
His mental health had improved in custody, despite being twice admitted to Thomas Embling psychiatric hospital prison, Judge Bourke said.
In January 2018, Nosrati was sentenced for up to four-and-a-half-years for the three cabbie robberies, with a non-parole period of two-and-a-half years.
The retail case had been delayed by DNA evidence results, through no fault of Nosrati, Judge Bourke said.
He noted that Nosrati had been denied parole due to the pending court case.
For the retail-store robbery, Judge Bourke sentenced Nosrati to a concurrent 12-month jail term with one month non-parole – a “remarkably light” sentence when considered on its own.
However Nosrati’s total sentence reflected the “totality” of the four robberies, he said.
When released, Nosrati will be held in immigration detention while awaiting deportation to Iran.