By KIERAN FINNANE
For “effectively wrecking” a man’s life and that of his partner, Reuben Nadich, who shot his victim in the back at Junction Waterhole on May 29 last year, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. The shooting was at close range and without provocation or reason.
Mr Nadich’s “moral culpability” was equivalent to that for murder, said Justice Judith Kelly in her sentencing remarks last Thursday.
“If he had died, the fact that you intended to cause serious harm would have meant you were guilty of murder, not manslaughter, and liable to mandatory life imprisonment, with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years. It was pure blind good luck that your victim did not die.”
At the time of the shooting, Mr Nadich, then 22 years old, was on a suspended sentence for drug offences, having been released from gaol only two weeks earlier. Some 15 months of that sentence was outstanding. As he was in breach of the suspension by using Ice, an illicit drug, and by engaging in violence, the earlier sentence was reinstated. However, he will only have to serve six months of it cumulatively, that is in addition to his sentence for the shooting. The non-parole period was set at three years and three months, with the sentence back-dated to May 31, 2010, the date of his arrest. This means Mr Nadich could be out of gaol in just over two years.
Justice Kelly allowed a 20% discount on what she considered an appropriate sentence of seven and a half years, in acknowledgement of Mr Nadich’s guilty plea, even though this was, in her view, mostly motivated by there being a strong case against him, rather than by an acceptance of responsibility for his actions.
Justice Kelly accepted that he may feel “some remorse” – “you would be inhuman if you didn’t” – but she considered his main concern was for himself. She made mention of Mr Nadich’s willingness to pay restitution to his victim, but there was no “binding agreement” put forward to this end, as had been foreshadowed during sentencing submissions.
She accepted that there was “some reasonable chance” that Mr Nadich would rehabilitate, provided he kept away from drugs, though she was “not quite so optimistic” about his prospects as his family and friends were in their references.
Mr Nadich was raised by his mother, mostly in Alice Springs. He has never met his father. He became a regular user of cannabis in his late teens and started to also use Speed, Ecstasy and Ice when he moved to Adelaide and worked in the security industry, aged 20. His drug habit was described as “florid” by his lawyer.
By KIERAN FINNANE