No jail for Bendigo man involved in One Tree Hill kidnapping

A 25-year-old Bendigo man has escaped jail time for his involvement in a botched kidnapping in which a man was fatally stabbed.

Bo Valli was sentenced to a two-year community corrections order after pleading guilty to kidnapping and intentionally causing injury.

Judge Patricia Riddell told the County Court Valli’s involvement in the fatal crime was far less than that of his three co-accused.

His intellectual disability and his current role caring for family members was also taken into account when sentencing, the court heard.

The County Court heard 29-year-old Long Gully man Jara Dix, 30-year-old Long Gully man Benjamin Judge and 24-year-old Long Gully man Steven Judge took 19-year-old Andrew Brown to One Tree Hill on March 15, 2019, using Valli’s car.

No jail for Bendigo man involved in One Tree Hill kidnapping
Benjamin Judge has been jailed over the fatal kidnapping.(Facebook)

They planned to beat and chain the Bendigo teenager to a tree, where they intended to leave him for three days.

Harley Dix, a 29-year-old Long Gully man, instigated the kidnapping attempt but was not at the One Tree Hill location, the court heard.

The County Court heard Valli had very little involvement in the plan and did not know a group intended to seriously assault Brown, chain him up and leave him in the bush.

The victim was assaulted with a sledgehammer and kicked and punched for about five minutes, causing lacerations, bruises and cuts.

Brown then fought back and fatally stabbed 24-year-old Long Gully man Steven Judge.

A man looking down at the camera in selfie mode, wearing a backwards cap.
The court heard Harley Dix instigated the kidnapping.(Facebook)

Valli played lesser role, court told

Prosecutor Jennifer Taylor said while Valli’s involvement was less than that of the others involved in the kidnapping, it was still significant and serious.

“This kind of offending is very serious,” Ms Taylor said.

“This type of vigilante behaviour, which can result in catastrophic impacts on the victim and others, can’t be underestimated.”

In the further plea hearing, the Crown submitted that the offending was serious enough to warrant at least a combination sentence, including some time in custody.

Defence lawyer Charles Morgan said Valli’s knowledge of the plan was vastly different to Harley Dix’s knowledge of the plan and Judge Riddell agreed.

Drug treatment, community service

As part of the community corrections order, Valli will have to do 200 hours of unpaid community service and receive treatment for his substance abuse and mental health issues.

Judge Riddell previously sentenced the three others involved in the kidnapping – Harley Dix, Jara Dix and Benjamin Judge – to prison with non-parole periods.

“It is objectively serious offending,” she said.

But Judge Riddell said Valli did not play as serious a role because he was not aware of the plan and did not realise Brown would be seriously injured.

“The extent of your involvement in any planning was much more limited,” Judge Riddell said.

“You expected Jara Dix would fight him and that he might be punched and get something like a blood nose or a blood lip.

“The type of injury you believed would be caused, would be at the lower end of the available spectrum.

“There is no evidence that you were aware any weapons or tools would be used.

“There is no evidence you were aware he was to be chained and left in in a bush, in a beaten state.”