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'Film-inspired bank robber needs parole'

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Rick Goodman

An Adelaide man who committed a string of bank robberies a decade ago should be released from jail for his own wellbeing, his lawyer says.

James William Randall-Smith, 30, was jailed for 16 years in 2007 for holding up seven banks and stealing cars with another man in a crime spree inspired by the Australian film Two Hands.

His lawyer says Randall-Smith has a history of drug dependency inside prison but has a supportive family so his chances of rehabilitation would improve if he were released on parole.

"There is no point in leaving this man in jail any longer," defence counsel Jon Lister told the court in Adelaide

"The framework for his rehabilitation exists outside of jail."

Randall-Smith was 21 when he and his co-accused, Andrew Davi, held up seven banks, stealing $105,000 in nine months before they were caught in August 2006.

The pair wore matching overalls, wielded an axe and a sledgehammer, and pointed a shotgun at bank tellers.

They said they were inspired by films that depicted bank robbers as adventurers who never hurt anyone and never got caught.

Mr Lister said Randall-Smith was not motivated by drugs or violence but by immature ideals: "He was a very young man at the time, living in a fantasy world."

Randall-Smith was released on parole in 2014 after serving his minimum sentence of eight years but he was jailed again in March 2016 because he breached his parole conditions, testing positive to drugs.

The court heard he developed a dependency on a synthetic opiate while in jail, a drug addiction he didn't have before he was locked up.

"He has spent nearly all of his adult life in prison and he came out as a drug-dependent person," Mr Lister said.

Randall-Smith sat in the dock in a light-blue shirt with his sandy hair cut short and appeared alert; members of his family were present in court.

"After his release he thought he could deal with the drug dependency on his own - he clearly could not," the defence lawyer said.

"He came out ill-equipped to reintegrate into the community."

Mr Lister asked for his client, who has more than six years remaining on his sentence, to be released as soon as possible so he could gain continual drug counselling and family support.

"Keeping this man in prison is going to do nothing beneficial for him or the community," he said.

Prosecutor Emily Brown did not oppose his release in future but she said it should be gradual rather than immediate.

Randall-Smith will return to court in January when Judge Paul Cuthbertson will recommend a release date to the parole board.

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