More jail time for prison rioters

Michael TraillAlbany Advertiser
Albany Justice Complex.
Camera IconAlbany Justice Complex. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Another two prisoners have been sentenced for their role in a riot that “caused significant disruption” to Albany Regional Prison in September last year.

In the Albany District Court on Monday, Axel Farran Winmar, 30, and Gregory Astin Williams, 29, both had their prison sentences extended for six months for taking part in the September 19, 2018 riot.

State prosecutor David Jubb told the court prison officers were pelted with broken porcelain, chairs and plumbing fittings after Winmar, Williams and four other co-accused tampered with the lock of a security grille in unit two on the B landing of the prison.

After destroying plumbing fittings the corridor was flooded by the group who also tried to light fires, smashed windows and tied bedding to the security grille.

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“The pieces of porcelain struck the grille, shattering into small, sharp pieces, spraying the officers with the fragments and causing them to retreat,” Mr Jubb said.

Winmar’s defence counsel Elizabeth Hamilton said the pair were frustrated with the lack of response in requests to be moved to a metropolitan prison leading up to the riot, after going through formal avenues of trying to get a transfer.

Judge Belinda Lonsdale acknowledged the group might have been frustrated at being imprisoned in Albany, but told the pair they had crossed the line.

“It’s a very serious matter when the safety of prison officers is put in peril,” Judge Lonsdale said.

Before handing down her sentence, Judge Lonsdale said Winmar had an “overwhelming criminal history” for his age.

“A psychological report was prepared for you, and that really just confirms your institutionalisation and your feelings of hopelessness and your lack of interest in life,” Judge Lonsdale said.

Winmar, who was serving an 11-year sentence that started in March 2013, now has an earliest-release date of September 2022.

Williams will be eligible for parole in July 2021 after being sentenced for armed robbery in the Supreme Court in February 2017.

The first of the six alleged offenders, Douglas Reuben Hansen, was sentenced to 16 months in October for his role in the riot.

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