Home And Away star sentenced for string of violent offences
A former Home and Away star has been refused bail and will spend another six months behind bars, despite his lawyer asking for him to be released to go to rehab, after confessing to a string of violent offences across Sydney.
Felix Dean appeared at Central Local Court on Tuesday via AVL from John Moroney Correctional Centre, where his lawyer Elliott Rowe entered pleas of guilty for several violent charges.
The former Home And Away actor, known for playing the role of “VJ” on the Channel 7 show between 2007 and 2014, was arrested in October last year after he assaulted a Surry Hills tobacco shop owner with a hammer.
Dean pleaded guilty to charges of affray, shoplifting less than $2000, being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence, destroying or damaging property, assault with intent to rob, assaulting an officer and not complying with Covid-19 direction.
The 24-year-old was first arrested on January 6, 2021, and spent 86 days in custody on remand before being granted bail on April 9.
Court documents reveal Dean was intoxicated in Newtown with a friend about 7pm when he urinated outside the window of a resident who noticed and asked what he was doing.
Dean laughed and said “do you want to fight?” and the man threatened to call the police, before the 24-year-old picked up an empty alcohol bottle and hauled it at the building, shattering a window.
He ran from the scene and later that night stopped an Uber driver on his way to pick up a customer, before assaulting the man and attempting to get him out of the car.
According to court documents Dean swung both fists at the man while yelling “get out of your car you f**king c**t” but the man managed to push him off and drive away.
He was released on strict bail conditions and was moved into a rehabilitation program at Gordon Private Hospital where he stayed for 37 days, Mr Rowe said.
It wasn’t until June that things “had really fallen off the wagon” in relation to Dean’s drug issues, the court heard.
Mr Rowe told the court there were further offences in September involving breaching Covid restrictions but Dean was again released on bail until the most recent offence in October.
Court documents state Dean was drinking with someone at a Paddington home on September 18 – during Sydney’s strict Covid lockdown – when the pair erupted in a fight and police were called.
When police arrived he could not provide proof of address and officers found he was drunk and smelled strongly of alcohol, becoming argumentative with them when he raised his voice.
Officers escorted him out of the building towards a police vehicle where he became violent and eventually kicked a police officer.
Dean was released on bail the following day with the promise of seeking rehabilitation for his drug and alcohol consumption issues.
But when he entered a Surry Hills tobacco shop on Elizabeth street at about 10.55pm on October 11, his final chance flew out the window.
The 24-year-old walked into the TSG Tobacconist and feigned interest in purchasing a mobile phone before running off with the $200 grey iPhone after a store worker handed it over to him.
After 10 minutes he returned armed with a 30cm hammer and assaulted a male employee who suffered minor head injuries, and attacked the manager of the store.
He ran from the store after dropping the hammer before returning and demanding it be given back to him.
After another scuffle he left again as the workers called the police, who found Dean stumbling along nearby Holt Street where he became “aggressive and agitated”.
Dean has remained in custody on remand since October 12, spending a total of 194 days behind bars.
In court on Tuesday Mr Rowe requested the sentencing be adjourned and Dean be granted bail to enter a residential rehabilitation program.
Mr Rowe said much of Dean’s offending was “spontaneous” and his behaviour was resulting from his “longstanding addiction to drugs”, which he started taking at a young age.
The court heard he began using methamphetamine when he was on the soap opera as a 15-year-old, after first smoking cannabis the year before.
“The impulsivity of his conduct … there was no real planning, he would have had a significantly limited state of mind from his addiction issues,” he told the court.
The court heard Dean suffered from PTSD as a result of abuse throughout his schooling, significant pressures from being a child actor and having an “unusual experience as a child”.
Mr Rowe said his client showcases “great ability” which was proven in his dedication to work at such a young age.
“But mental health is such a significant factor and he has limited criminal history,” Mr Rowe said.
“He wasn’t involved in a planned or organised criminal group, it was spontaneous from his drug addiction … but he needs to address the mental health and addiction issues.”
Magistrate Alison Viney accepted Dean had a “significant drug and alcohol problem” which led to the violent offending.
The court heard Dean had been given the opportunity to enter into rehab centres from past court appearances but failed to stick to it.
“Where the court has provided opportunities in the past he has not only relapsed but committed further serious offences,” Magistrate Viney said.
The request to grant bail to undergo rehabilitation was refused, with the magistrate saying the protection of the community was the court’s top priority.
Magistrate Viney described Dean as an “intelligent” young man who could become a contributing member of the community if he decided to get help for his drug issues.
“But that is in his hands,” she said.
Dean was handed an aggregate sentence of 19 months imprisonment and a $1000 fine for the breach of a Conditional Release Order, with a non parole period of 11 months.
Magistrate Viney backdated the sentence to begin on July 11, 2021, due to time already served, meaning he will be released on parole on June 10, 2022.
“I sincerely hope once you are released you will maintain your desire to address your long-term drug issues,” she said.
Originally published as Home And Away star sentenced for string of violent offences
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