Final sentence handed down for Brendan Searle

Mr Searle received his final sentence on Friday 9 February. Picture: ON FILE

By Tanya Steele

“Cautious optimism” has been granted to a man with a known criminal history for numerous crimes committed throughout Boronia in 2021.

Brandon Searle, 36, who attempted a carjacking and fired a gun near police in Boronia on 9 November 2021 was jailed for seven years and three months.

He will be eligible for parole in four years and three months.

On Friday 9 February, County Court judge Gavan Meredith stated that he had ”cautious optimism” for Searle’s rehabilitation and that it was “to Mr Searle’s credit that he pleaded guilty.”

Searle was charged with 12 offences, pleading guilty to several including the use of a firearm, discharging a firearm and an attempted carjacking.

He committed the offences whilst on bail.

Searle was heard to have filmed Snapchat videos of himself timed at 11.30 pm on 8 November.

The video saw Searle holding a sawn-off shotgun and pointing the barrel into the camera before concealing it in his shorts and then taking the train to Boronia.

He arrived at Boronia Hotel around midnight and played the pokies for around two hours. It was at this time he was asked several times by staff to adjust his cap as his face was obscured.

The man was asked to leave the venue and staff called 000 after Searle told an employee to “shut her face” and grabbed her facemask.

It was around 2 am Searle approached a man in his vehicle, made demands he get out and threatened to shoot the driver in the face.

The driver drove his car forward in panic, then reversed away and reported the conduct to Boronia police and Searle left the scene on foot.

About 2.15am Searle was spotted walking west along Boronia road.

Searle was asked to stop and put his hands in the air and was then followed by three officers. Searle turned and pulled the firearm, pointing it towards police and then firing one shot into the air.

Judge Meredith read at the sentencing that Searle later said “it was a 12 gauge firearm… you get a firearm and you think you are f***ing hero.”

“It was just to kind of scare them off.

“You don’t realise the consequences, you don’t think about it at the time.”

The three officers took cover and Searle fled the scene, hiding at a nearby house for around five hours.

On 9 November Searle handed himself in at Melbourne West police station.

The shotgun was later found on 23 April buried in a resident’s garden bed and was found to be a match to Searle’s.

Judge Meredith found at the time that Searle had a significant criminal history including assault, damaging property, breaching court orders and drug use.

Searle has served several terms of imprisonment previously along with a history of entrenched substance abuse.

As a child, he had a disadvantaged childhood which exposed him to alcohol, addiction and anti-social behaviour from his father – who was heard to have burnt down a family home, stolen a vehicle with Searle in it at the age of four and self-injected in front of Searle at the age of 14.

He was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and found learning difficult. He has worked mostly in labouring jobs but has been unable to maintain stable employment.

His parents separated and both his father and half-sister passed away, his father from a terminal illness in 2017 and his half-sister from a heroin overdose in 2022.

Searle has been in a stable relationship since September 2022 (after he went into custody). His partner has attended plea and sentencing to provide character support, having known Searle throughout his life.

While in custody Searle has attended several vocational and therapeutic programs and removed himself from adverse influences in the prison.

Judge Meredith took Searle’s background into account and said that Searle “presents with a complex and dysfunctional childhood,” and that the “guilty plea and other materials satisfy me that you are appropriately remorseful for your crime.”

Searle has already served over 750 days of his sentence in pre-sentence detention.