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Solomon Slater: Man already eligible for parole after receiving two-year jail term for armed robbery

Headshot of Carly Laden
Carly LadenSouth Western Times
A Brookton man who threatened a South West Woolworths store manager with a syringe while trying to shoplift several items is already eligible for release on parole after being jailed for two years.
Camera IconA Brookton man who threatened a South West Woolworths store manager with a syringe while trying to shoplift several items is already eligible for release on parole after being jailed for two years. Credit: Carly Laden/South Western Times

A 26-year-old Brookton man who threatened a South West Woolworths store manager with a syringe while trying to shoplift several items is already eligible for release on parole after being jailed for two years.

Solomon Robert Slater appeared in the Bunbury District Court on Monday, where he was sentenced to the two-year jail term after previously pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated armed robbery.

The court was told Slater went to Woolworths at the Eaton Fair Shopping Centre during the late morning of March 6 last year and placed about $100 worth of items into a trolley.

Slater then walked briskly down an aisle and out through the entry gates with the trolley, making no attempt to pay for the items.

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The manager on duty at the time observed this and followed Slater outside the store and confronted him in the lobby, telling him he needed to return the items.

Slater pushed the trolley away and said to the manager “Back off mate, I will smash you.”

After shoving the manager, Slater tried to retrieve the trolley but was stopped by the manager, who said “Leave the trolley mate”.

Slater then pulled a syringe from his right pocket and held it in his left hand, yelling “F... off, I will stick you”, repeating the phrase four to five times while coming towards the manager holding the syringe, which had an orange cap and was about 10cm in length.

Concerned for his safety, the manager released the trolley and began filming Slater leaving with the trolley on his mobile phone.

Seeing that he was being filmed, Slater continued to be aggressive towards the manager and lunged at him several times before leaving and loading the stolen items into a white LandCruiser.

Slater was arrested the following night after being stopped by police on the Kwinana Freeway near Pinjarra Road, with officers finding a Woolworths bag containing the same clothing he wore during the armed robbery as well as a used syringe in his pocket.

In submissions, Slater’s defence counsel Michael Devlin said the offending occurred while “in the thralls of an amphetamines addiction” and having limited finances at the time.

“There’s no excuse for someone who is involved in the use of an addiction to methylamphetamine,” he said.

“Essentially it is an escapade to steal food, to then avoid, I take it, the buying.

“He is simply stealing, in this instance, to cover off his habit.”

However, Mr Devlin told the court his client yelling “F... off, I will stick you” to the manager, although there was a “temporary aggression” during the incident.

It was also submitted that since being arrested and charged, Slater had been clean from drugs and had taken part in several education and counselling programs while in custody.

In sentencing, District Court Judge Fiona Vernon said threatening someone with a syringe would have been frightening and it was clear Slater intended on frightening the manager.

“You say you didn’t intend to hurt him but there’s no way he would have known that,” she said.

“The weapon was not a large one and it was capped.

“However, the fear that’s created by this weapon is the fear of a serious, blood-borne infection.

“This is the sort of offending that is all too common in our stores and that staff have to deal with too frequently.”

The jail term was backdated to the day Slater was arrested in March last year, making him already eligible to be released on parole.

However, he was told by Judge Vernon that whether he is granted parole was not up to the court.

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