Former sport star 'Chook' Fowler gets jail time
FALLEN NRL star Anthony "Chook'' Fowler is officially a jailed crook after his conviction and District Court sentence for the robbery of Falvey's Cecil Hotel.
Fowler, 44, quickly averted his gaze as victim and hotel owner Peter Falvey stared at him seated in the dock as he walked past the man who once was a trusted employee.
Reverend Jenny Busch sat with the family. Her brother Darren Moloney was the hotel cleaner and the victim of the robbery.
Mr Moloney, 49, died just five weeks later.
Clad in a black Cross Fit Extreme Boxing T-shirt and shorts, Fowler had previously pleaded guilty to entering a premises with intent in Goodna on March 19, 2015; robbery in company; and serious assault with intent to commit a crime.
More than $100,000 was the expected haul but because a safe combination had been changed the robbery realised $20,000 cash.
Ms Busch said it was clear to her that the robbery had an impact on her brother, and that he had a sense of guilt about it.
For the hotel family there was "a betrayal of trust and friendship" after Peter Falvey and son Michael employed Fowler for three years.
Crown prosecutor Jane Shaw said Fowler became close friends with Michael after he had coached football at Goodna.
When Fowler began bullying a hotel staff member Michael intervened and this led to Fowler bullying him until he was fired.
Ms Shaw said it was premeditated and planned robbery that targeted and threatened a hotel worker who was man handled, a replica pistol pressed to his head.
Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC said Fowler was the mastermind behind the robbery and knew the morning routine of the cleaner Mr Moloney who would arrive before 6am.
He said two co-offenders Wayne Patu and Jesse Kermode lay in wait and jumped the cleaner.
Kermode was armed with a replica pistol and Mr Moloney was marched into the hotel, the pistol held to his head.
Nearly $20,000 was stolen.
Judge Horneman-Wren said the plan was to access a larger safe where "a greater prize" was thought to be waiting.
He said text messages between Fowler and Patu showed between $120,000 and $200,000 was expected.
The offence was aggravated because Fowler planned it.
Fowler's past glories were touched on by his lawyer Michael Bosscher, including his days as an Ipswich schoolboy who represented Australia, his sporting years including Seagulls and the North Sydney Bears.
When Judge Horneman-Wren commented that when the crime's effect on the victims was mentioned, Fowler smiled.
Mr Bosscher said Fowler accepted the hurt and suffering he caused.
Judge Horneman-Wren sentenced Fowler to four years and four months jail for the robbery in company charge, and 2 and half years jail for the other two charges - served concurrently.
He was ordered to serve the four months of a previously suspended sentence - cumulative.
Fowler will be eligible to begin his application for parole from August 10, 2019.
Fowler embraced his girl-friend before he was led away.