Men jailed for killing machete menace
THREE men who acted with ''great courage'' and selfless concern when intervening after they saw a machete-wielding man harassing a pair of teenagers have been jailed for beating him to death.
The men had been driving along the South Gippsland Highway at Cranbourne North in September 2009 when they saw 24-year-old Scott Shaw chasing and swinging a machete at two 15-year-olds.
When one occupant of their car cried out for Shaw to leave the children alone, Shaw repeatedly struck the car with his machete. It was at that point that Stephen McEwan, 40, got out of his car and was threatened by Shaw, before Shaw continued along the highway, intimidating passing motorists with the machete.
McEwan and his co-accused, James Robb, 53, and Normunds Dambitis, 43, chased after Shaw.
They eventually cornered him beside a parked bus and attacked him, with McEwan using a fishing rod and Dambitis a tree branch.
Shaw died in hospital six days later of brain injuries.
McEwan was found guilty of murder by a Victorian Supreme Court jury. Robb was convicted of manslaughter, while Dambitis was found guilty of defensive homicide.
The court heard that earlier that evening Shaw and a friend had set upon another two teenagers, and assaulted one of them, without any cause or provocation.
Justice Stephen Kaye said the men had initially intervened out of selfless concern and ''acted with great courage''.
''It is quite possible that, as a result of your intervention, you may well have saved those young persons from the serious consequences of violence at the hands of Scott Shaw and his friend,'' he said yesterday.
But while Shaw's conduct that night could be criticised, Justice Kaye said, it was no excuse for the men to have taken his life in a brutal attack,
McEwan was sentenced to 16½ years' jail with a non-parole period of 12½ years.
Robb was sentenced to eight years. He was ordered to serve a minimum 5½ years.
Dambitis was jailed for 11 years, with a minimum of eight.
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