Former West Coast Eagle Ben Sharp has been sentenced to nine years in prison for armed robbery, handling stolen goods and drug trafficking.
Sharp, a former ice user, was given a non-parole period of six years after pleading guilty in the Victorian County Court to using a shotgun and a handgun to rob a security guard of $278,750 cash.
The 30-year-old blamed a culture of drug use at West Coast when he played there, saying that he was given the choice of being “in or out” when he arrived there as an 18-year-old.
Judge Geoffrey Chettle rejected his claims.
“Your involvement with drugs… does not in any way excuse your offending,” Judge Chettle said.
“But it does however give the court some understanding of how an intelligent and talented sportsman from a hardworking family can find himself where you now sit.”
Sharp started using ice in 2006, and his use ramped up in 2013 after a broken leg ended his VFL career with Werribee.
He was using ice daily in the lead up to the 2014 robbery, the court heard.
“I accept that drugs compromised your perception and judgement over an extended period of time,” Judge Chettle said.
Sharp committed the robbery with his younger brother Christopher, 26, and Nathan Lack, 35.
Christopher was jailed for at least three years and nine months, while Lack was jailed for a minimum of seven years.