Shot cop criticises gunman's jail term
8:16 AEST Mon May 23 2011
A NSW police officer shot in a botched hotel robbery that led to a four-hour siege with hostages has lashed out at the gunman's "joke" sentence.
Sergeant Stephen de Lorenzo, who bared his scarred shoulder outside the Sydney court on Monday, said he was furious with the judicial system and his attacker's jail term.
"This guy needs to go away for 25 years, close the door. He shot a police officer with intent to murder. He was holding hostages with a firearm to their head," Sgt de Lorenzo told reporters on Monday.
"He will be out in the community in 11 years. It's an absolute outrage. It's a joke."
NSW District Court Judge Deborah Sweeney sentenced Tevi Koloamatangi, 41, to a maximum of 15 years for a string of offences, including those related to The Lakes Hotel robbery in the eastern Sydney suburb of Rosebery in May, 2009.
"I wouldn't mind going back to the front line to have one more chop at these mugs that shoot cops," Sgt de Lorenzo said. "Judge Sweeney, sitting there with a plum in her mouth, living on the north shore of Sydney, doesn't understand the problems on the streets of Sydney." Sgt de Lorenzo earlier had told the jury he was shot in the right shoulder while trying to protect three staff members who had been taken hostage.
He described people screaming and whimpering, with one man yelling "God save me! God save me!", and thought they would be executed.
The judge accepted Koloamatangi's evidence that he was affected by amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy and had prolonged the situation because he feared for his own safety.
But, she said, he could have surrendered rather than shoot.
"I have found Mr Koloamatangi was not lying in wait for Sgt de Lorenzo. However, when he saw Sgt de Lorenzo, he shot at him," she said.
A sentencing hearing was told Koloamatangi turned to illicit substances at a young age to self medicate for his troubled childhood, which included years of homelessness.
"He confirmed in evidence he can't say no to drugs," the judge said.
She accepted his feelings of remorse, although he had maintained his innocence on the most serious charge of shoot with intent to murder, for which he was sentenced to a minimum of six years.
But Koloamatangi will spend at least 11 years in jail for seven offences, including two unrelated to the robbery.
He will be eligible for release in May 2020.
Co-accused Emad Raad, 27, who drove Koloamatangi to the hotel and remained on lookout until police arrived, was found guilty of charges including shooting with intent to murder.
He was sentenced to a minimum term of five years and will be eligible for parole in June 2016.
Koloamatangi's relative, 49-year-old Silivesiteli Lopeti, a security guard at the hotel, was cleared by a jury of all charges after the Crown alleged he faked being a victim and was actually "in on the deal".
Sgt de Lorenzo said his life had been "terribly affected" by the incident and he had been laid off from the NSW police force due to post-traumatic stress disorder.
"They hailed me as a hero," he said.
"I'm no hero. I'm just an ordinary cop that did an ordinary job.
"I'm furious because there's gonna be other young police officers shot in the line of duty ... and I want increased sentences for these people."
Update: The would be killers cheer squad has now accused Sergeant Stephen de Lorenzo,of been a Racist for telling them to "go back home where they came from" had Sergeant Stephen de Lorenzo just died instead of surviving their pin up boys bullets I guess he would been just playing his part in the "enrichment" "diversity" of Australian Society by the Australian Labor Party's "Harmony Day" messengers of Peace,Diversity and Cultural enrichment.
Note the Immigration Departments Interpreter deciding to become "a player" rather than a simply doing her job of interpreting inside the Court, but perhaps her loyalties are to a wannabe Killer from the same country that she also ran away from,than to Australia.
I wonder did she interpret or construct answers for the wannabe Cop Killer for the the Good Judge.
I have seen first hand how these Immigration Department Interpreters take an activist role whilst allegedly simply transfering questions and answers between the “non English speaking” accused and the Court and its officers.