Jame Phan given minimum of 14 yrs sentence for Sydney murder

21 April, 2016 | Vietnamese Community News
Police arresting a man over the death of Kamran Yousaf. (Photo: NSW Police)
Armed robber Jame Phan has been sentenced to at least 14 years’ jail for the murder of a south-west Sydney fruit shop worker and a string of other crimes, despite a judge saying his culpability was the lowest she had ever encountered in a murder trial.

Phan, also known as Van Linh Dang, did not fire the shot that killed “extremely courageous” Villawood shop hand Kamran Yousaf but was convicted by a jury of the murder.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, Acting Justice Jane Mathews said the 30-year-old had battled addiction to heroin and methamphetamine for years and had a “low level of culpability” for the murder.

“I have no doubt that the jury convicted Mr Phan on the basis that he foresaw the possibility of Mr Murdoch firing the gun at some stage during or immediately after the armed robbery, but did not foresee the possibility of someone being injured or killed as a result. This very significantly reduces his culpability for this offence,” Justice Mathews said on Thursday.

Mr Yousaf, 28, was shot in the stomach by Phan’s partner in crime, Lance Lachlan Murdoch, with a silver pistol in October 2013. As the victim tried to stop Phan from fleeing with a cash register, Phan struck him on the head with a hammer.

After the shooting, Phan was dragged back into the fruit shop by other workers and tied up until police arrived, while hi co-offender fled.

Yousaf had only been in Australia for less than a year when the crime took place and had been married for just six months.

He had been due to return to his home village of Jalalpur Jattan in north-east Pakistan to see his new bride and family when he was killed.

Justice Mathews sentenced Phan to an aggregate maximum sentence of 20 years’ jail with a non-parole period of 14 years. The sentence took into account three armed robberies committed in the days before the fatal attempted armed robbery at Villawood.

She said Phan had an “extremely difficult” life after immigrating to Australia from his native Vietnam at the age of five.

He had struggled with drug addiction since his teens and his crimes were committed to “feed his drug dependency”.

“If Mr Phan can refrain from reverting to substance abuse, he is unlikely to re-offend,” the judge said.

Phan will be eligible for parole in October 2027.

Murdoch will be sentenced at a later date.

– with other agencies