A trusted Illawarra Brothers 4 Life intermediary is facing up to two years behind bars after admitting he helped the gang’s incarcerated leader continue his reign from behind bars.
Richard Dutton operated at the beck and call of well-known criminal identity Damien Featherstone as he directed the group’s activities from inside Goulburn’s Supermax jail.
Through Dutton’s management on the outside, Featherstone built a small but loyal group of followers, after he himself was allegedly recruited into the gang by its founder and fellow Supermax inmate, Bassam Hamzy.
Recorded jail calls reveal Featherstone ordered the gang’s members to commit serious crimes including assault, drug supply and gun running over four months from October to February.
Dutton’s contact with Featherstone occurred in October and November last year and involved the management of group members and discussion on the acquisition of firearms to bolster their weapons haul.
However, Dutton’s stand-in leadership of the gang came to an abrupt and bizarre end on January 4 when he inexplicably but deliberately fired a gun into the air outside Lake Illawarra Police Station before surrendering himself for arrest.
Dutton was sentenced to two years behind bars for that offence, however he wasn’t charge over his involvement with Featherstone and B4L until a few months later.
In court on Friday, defence lawyer Justine Hall urged the court not to impose a “crushing sentence” on Dutton, who she said was already in jail until 2020 on the shooting charge.
She said Dutton came from a very disadvantaged background.
“He’s a 30-year-old man who has had a horrific upbringing marred by alcohol abuse and drug abuse, and exposure to domestic violence,” she said.
“He has four brothers and four sisters but only has contact with one of each. He had no pro-social or positive peers growing up and was drawn to the brother/sibling relationship that people find themselves in in this type of [gang] situation.”
Ms Hall said Dutton, who now sports a bushy black beard and inch-long curly black hair, had the support of his partner and their eight-month-old child.
Magistrate Mark Douglass adjourned the case for a week to consider the case ahead of sentencing.
“It’s significant subject matter we’re dealing with here,” he said in explaining his decision.
“I want to consider the sentence given to [one of] the co-accused and review some [NSW Supreme Court] decisions before I determine the matter.”
Feathersone is currently in custody in the ACT on unrelated matters.