Man walks free after convicted of pub robbery

A SUNSHINE Coast man has walked free from court over his involvement in the 2012 armed robbery of a popular Brisbane watering hole after having already served almost two-and-a-half years behind bars.

But he will remain on parole for the next three years.

Thomas Grant Hansen, 28, pleaded guilty yesterday in the Brisbane District Court to being the getaway driver in the violent armed robbery of the Royal Exchange Hotel at Toowong on October, 9, 2012.

He also pleaded guilty to a host of minor charges which included receiving a stolen BMW M3 that was used later as the getaway car in the robbery.

Crown prosecutor Deborah Holliday said Hansen had a criminal history dating back to 2003 when as a juvenile he was involved in an armed robbery on a train.

She said Hansen also was serving a three-year suspended sentence for the 2010 armed robbery of a pharmacy when he committed the pub robbery.

"The armed robbery was a serious offence given it was a hotel, with a weapon and occurred late at night," she said."A sawn-off shotgun was used, staff and patrons were threatened and a large sum of cash was stolen."

Defence barrister James Godbolt said Hansen's life started to go off the rails when he started using cannabis which quickly escalated to ice use.

He said Hansen had realised in jail the path he had been heading down was not a good one."While I do not want to downplay his involvement in the robbery, he did not commit any acts of actual violence," he said.

"He has admitted that he has made some poor life choices and has worked hard inside jail to rectify that."

Judge Michael Rackemann sentenced Hansen to three years behind bars but ordered he be released on immediate parole after taking into account the 836 days he had spent in pre-sentence custody which was not declarable.He praised him for his work while on remand in his bid to turn around his life. 


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