A man who caused a shutdown of Brisbane’s Queen St mall while armed with a gun has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.
A gunman who held police at bay for 90 minutes in Brisbane’s Queen Street mall last year has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Lee Matthew Hillier, 35, will be eligible for parole in September this year after having served 18 months of his sentence, the Brisbane District Court heard.
Hillier has been in custody since March, 8 2013, when he sent Brisbane’s busy pedestrian mall into lockdown during a 90-minute standoff with police.
Justice Terry Martin said the siege had occurred during a busy time.
“The truth is you caused havoc in the city. A major part of the city was closed down,” he said.
“Many ordinary citizens were put in fear and or greatly inconvenienced.
“It seems inevitable to me that businesses must have suffered financially.”
Hillier smiled at supporters in the public gallery and said “love youse” as he was led from the dock.
Justice Martin praised police involved in the siege and said Hillier would not be alive today if it was not for their professionalism and courage.
He said no one could have known Hillier’s gun was unloaded and he carried no ammunition.
The judge accepted the gunman had been in “great mental turmoil” and had only intended to meet someone for lunch on the day.
The prisoner had led a very disadvantaged life and had a “savage” drug addiction, while his prospects of rehabilitation were poor, Justice Martin added.
Hillier pleaded guilty to a string of charges including assaulting police while armed, going armed to cause fear, and dangerous conduct with a weapon.
Several of the offences were committed in the months leading up to the siege, including on January 14, 2013 when Hillier blew two fingers off his hand with a home-made shotgun.
The court heard the most serious offending occurred on March 8, when workers and shoppers fled Queen Street after the heavily tattooed Hillier produced a gun.
The 90-minute stand-off ended when police shot the shirtless gunman with a combination of non-lethal and live rounds.