By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Police were “clearly unwelcome” at a Dandenong home garage on Christmas Eve 2019 where they unexpectedly visited three men armed and smoking ice, a Victorian County Court judge stated.
One of the trio was Ilija Stojanovic, then 30, who stood up from a table and tried to walk past police, Judge Rosemary Carlin said at a sentencing hearing on 5 May.
The accused threw a loaded five-shot revolver towards a mate. The gun bounced off the mate’s chest and landed on a car bonnet.
Police seized a stolen Audi coupe with stolen NSW plates, a gold imitation handgun, mobile phones, $2190 cash and 15.8 grams of meth in deal bags at the table.
On the car port wall was a ledger of drug transactions.
Stojanovic resisted police and was struck, handcuffed and arrested.
At the time, Stojanovic had been released from jail less than a month earlier for car theft and trafficking meth. He was on a corrections order.
Stojanovic pleaded guilty to being a prohibited person possessing a firearm and an imitation firearm, drug trafficking, theft, handling stolen goods and resisting police.
It was his third offence of illegally possessing firearms, his fifth for car theft.
“Your possession of a loaded revolver in circumstances where you were in fact trafficking in drugs is particularly serious because of the obvious risk that the gun might end up being used to cause injury or death.”
Judge Carlin noted his disadvantaged background and mental health issues, including PTSD.
Growing up in the Bosnian War, Stojanovic was exposed to “constant bombing, gunfire and danger”. His parents were imprisoned in war camps.
“By the time you were seven or eight you knew how to handle a gun”.
The family settled as refugees in Hampton Park, unable to speak English and little possessions.
In his 20’s, Stojanovic descended into serious drug abuse, particularly ‘ice’. He had periods of abstinence after residential drug rehab and while on parole, Judge Carlin noted.
“You knew that taking ice would put you back into the criminal milieu and likely lead to further offending and yet you chose to do it.
“I am not persuaded that you are truly remorseful for your crimes, as opposed to being sorry that you were caught.”
The accused’s prospects for rehabilitation were “bleak” but not “beyond hope”.
He was jailed for up to four years, including a non-parole period of two years, eight months.
The terms included 498 days in pre-sentence detention.