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Ronald Gilbert: Geraldton man sentenced to nine months behind bars after he armed himself with a glass shard

Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
Ronald Gilbert has called the Batavia Motor Inne home for the past five years.
Camera IconRonald Gilbert has called the Batavia Motor Inne home for the past five years. Credit: Lachlan Allen/Geraldton Guardian

A Geraldton man described as the “father figure” of the Batavia Motor Inne has been jailed for nine months after he armed himself with a large glass shard earlier this year.

Ronald Olman Gilbert appeared in Geraldton Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with numerous offences including one count of being armed or pretending to be armed in a way that may cause fear.

He was also charged with two counts of assaulting a public officer, breaching a CRO, breach of bail undertaking and one count of breach of bail and assault occasioning bodily harm.

The court was told Gilbert threatened another homeless person who stole from him with a long glass shard at the Geraldton Foreshore basketball courts on March 12 earlier this year.

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Police negotiated with Gilbert to drop the shard and he was subsequently arrested without resist.

Lawyer Gregory Chin said his client was currently living at the derelict Batavia Motor Inne and had a history of homelessness and alcoholism.

In relation to the breach charges, Mr Chin said Gilbert was stranded in Perth on one occasion and had no way to get back to Geraldton, however, he conceded that the 43-year-old had no reasonable explanation for the other breaches.

The court was told both Gilbert’s biological and adopted parents passed away and he used alcohol to cope.

“His alcohol use is so entrenched, he was honest in his pre-sentence report saying he wasn’t sure if his involvement with the criminal justice system would change his drinking habit,” Mr Chin said.

Magistrate Angus Hockton acknowledged the difficulties of attending court and engaging in community-based orders facing someone who is homeless.

Despite this, he highlighted the seriousness of the charge, stating “when someone is confronted with a shard of glass, that could be very damaging and intimidating”.

Taking this into consideration, the magistrate sentenced Gilbert to nine months imprisonment.

Mr Hockton said it will give Gilbert an opportunity to engage in counselling and detox from alcohol.

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