Deportation risk for man after home invasion

SIX months after he sacked his lawyer just minutes before he was due to be sentenced for a home invasion robbery, an Ipswich dad has finalised his criminal charges.

But with his conviction Alex Sela now faces the risk of being deported back to New Zealand, the Ipswich District Court heard.

Sela, 28, a dad of three, appeared from jail via video-link after previously pleading guilty to entering a dwelling with intent to steal, in company, at Redbank on November 2, 2018; and robbery in company.

His co-offenders Brenton Nowlan, Wendy Nocente, (also known as Wendy Hill), and Natasha Higgins were sentenced back in November and April.

Crown prosecutor Cameron Wilkins said the offences were "unsophisticated and amateurish" and Sela had no prior serious criminal convictions.

He had since spent 175 days (nearly six months) held in custody from November 25.

"Ms Nocente was the ringleader, the organiser, but he was the principal offender," Mr Wilkins said.

"There was no violence. They were not armed."

Mr Wilkins said the victim was on the phone to police when three of them entered the house in the afternoon with some threats and comments recorded on the phone.

He said Sela was not an Australian citizen and a section of the Migration Act would now engage.

Defence barrister Damien Gates confirmed that Sela "is in grave danger of being deported", saying he was of Samoan heritage but New Zealand born and came to Australia in 2011.

He said the six months spent in jail was a significant penalty for a man who'd never been in jail before.

He sought for a 2 ½ year jail term with the sentence immediately suspended.

Judge Orazio Rinaudo said they arrived at the house with the intent to collect money allegedly owed by the man to Ms Nocente who previously dated him.

One of them removed $200 from his wallet and Sela and Nocente then took him to an ATM to get more money.

"To say it was amateurish and unsophisticated is to put it too highly. Most of the offending was captured on CCTV," Judge Rinaudo said.

"There were no weapons or violence."

He accepted it had been out of character but said people are entitled to feel and be safe in their homes, and such "self-help" offending to be condemned.

Sela was sentenced to 2 ½ years jail suspended for three after he serve 175 days (which he had).


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