Robert Aaron Mitchell
Robert Aaron Mitchell

Man jailed for drug-fuelled rampage at Roma pub

PATRONS at The Royal on Ninety-Nine were left shocked after a jailbird on parole smashed property and blocked the exit to fleeing diners, the Roma Magistrates Court has heard.

Robert Aaron Mitchell, 29, appeared via videolink and pleaded guilty to a number of charges including wilful damage, two counts of public nuisance within licenced premises, obstructing sergeant Cian Jacobs whilst adversely affected, and assaulting sgt Jacobs whilst adversely affected.

Police prosecutor sergeant Caroline Boodnikoff told the court police were advised of a disturbance at The Royal at 4.50pm on July 26.

“The information that had been received is that property had been destroyed at the premises there, and a male person was outside assaulting a female person outside of the hotel,” sgt Boodnikoff said.

The court heard the father of one entered the hotel and asked staff to hand over a phone, but became irate when staff noticed he was under the influence of a drug.

Robert Aaron Mitchell
Robert Aaron Mitchell

He used a ‘large sweeping motion’ and knocked a cookie jar off a table, which smashed on the ground.

But when some patrons tried to leave the premises, Mitchell moved to the doorway and blocked it, stopping them from going out.

While staff were intervening to get Mitchell out of the way, the manager was on the phone to police, but Mitchell went up and snatched it.

Luckily, the manager was able to snatch it back shortly afterwards.

“Once out the door, the defendant had taken a small metal torch from his pocket and began banging it hard against the large glass panels... in what appeared to be an attempt to damage them,” sgt Boodnikoff told the court.

Mitchell then asked a woman for money, then grabbed her handbag while she was screaming.

He was then arrested as an elderly woman walked towards The Royal from Subway.

“Police moved the defendant to the bonnet of the vehicle to search him and restrain him,” sgt Boodnikoff said.

“At this time he tensed his arms and body and began resisting vigorously to the point where all parties fell to the ground.”

While on the ground, Mitchell struck sgt Jacobs on the chest.

“The defendant was instructed to place his arm behind his back on numerous occasions yet he refused,” sgt Boodnikoff said.

“He then resisted in a highly motivated manner; an intense struggle has occurred for approximately five minutes straight, during which the defendant broke free from police.

“He attempted to wrestle them and he was again physically restrained.”

Sgt Boodnikoff told the court it required the efforts of five people to properly restrain Mitchell and he was taken to the Roma watch-house.

She said while sgt Jacobs was struck in the chest, it does not mean he was injured.

“It could have been a lot worse if members of the public didn’t come to the police aid,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘Obnoxious’ man arrested for destroying property in Roma pub

Mitchell’s criminal history is extensive and includes offences of a like nature.

Solicitor Laurie Parker said he’s been assisting Mitchell for some time and he has mental health concerns.

Mr Parker said Mitchell takes depression medications.

“He was affected by alcohol at the time,” Mr Parker said.

Mitchell told the court he was hearing voices at the time.

“When I was asking for the phone, I was asking them to ring the police,” Mitchell said.

Magistrate Peter Saggers told Mitchell it was a “very ugly incident”.

“Frightening people in the street and carrying on like that,” Magistrate Saggers said.

“As everyone has conceded, it was appalling behaviour.

“If you wanted to ring the police, rock up to the police station and knock on their door.”

Magistrate Saggers said it also happened while Mitchell was on parole for a previous sentence.

Mitchell was sentenced to six months imprisonment in total, to be served cumulatively with the prison sentence he already has, and won’t be released until September 23, 2021.

He was eligible for parole immediately.

Alongside the prison sentence, he was also slapped with 80 hours of community service upon release.

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