Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Bikie enforcer walks free on driving counts

Not talking ... Toby Mitchell.

Not talking ... Toby Mitchell.

If Toby Mitchell, enforcer for one of the most notorious bikie gangs in Australia, had not been shot five times when ambushed outside a gym in November last year, he would have been jailed today.

Magistrate Lance Martin said he had taken into account the serious injuries Bandidos serjeant-at-arms Toby Mitchell suffered in the shooting when deciding not to jail him for three driving offences.

Mitchell, 37, pleaded guilty today in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to two counts of driving while his licence had been suspended and one count of driving an unroadworthy vehicle.

Toby Mitchell outside court today.

Toby Mitchell outside court today.Photo: Craig Abraham

Mr Martin said Mitchell, who needs a walking stick to get around since the November 28 shooting, had 10 previous convictions for similar driving offences and would normally have received an immediate jail term.

The magistrate said Mitchell's driving record showed he held court orders in contempt and had little regard for other road users, but significant weight had to be given to the injuries the bikie had received in the shooting and his early guilty plea.

Mr Martin sentenced Mitchell to four months' jail wholly suspended for 24 months, disqualified him from driving for six months and fined him $400 plus court costs of $67.70.

Defence lawyer Theo Magazis said Mitchell had been a champion kickboxer until his career ended when he broke his hand.

He was working as a personal trainer when shot outside Doherty's gym, next door to the Bandidos clubhouse, in Weston Street, Brunswick.

Mr Magazis said Mitchell was shot five times in the back and suffered serious life-threatening injuries.

He was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital where he spent a significant amount of time in the intensive care unit before stabilising and being transferred to the hospital's recovery unit.

Mitchell then suffered a setback with continuous and uncontrollable bleeding from the liver.

The bikie lost one kidney, had significant damage to his liver and little movement in his right wrist where one of the bullets hit him.

Mr Magazis said there was a striking difference between the man who appeared in court today and the bikie before the shooting.

Mitchell had gone from a "very strong, fit, motivated young man" to someone who had been left with "significant health issues to deal with".

He is now taking 10 different medications, needs to have fluid constantly drained from his liver and sees his doctors regularly. He has little feeling in his hip.

Prosecutor Sergeant Geoff Adams said Mitchell had been caught twice in March and June last year driving while suspended.

One excuse Mitchell gave was that he had to wash his car.

"He has no care for anyone else but himself," Sergeant Adams said.

Mitchell refused to comment outside court.

Two men are believed to have been behind the failed hit on November 28 but Mitchell has refused to speak to police about who might have gunned him down.

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