Like father, like son: Chopper’s boy off to jail after string of crimes

The son of late underworld figure Mark “Chopper” Read has been hit with jail time following a string of crimes including headbutting a police officer, stealing cigarettes and wielding a harpoon gun in public.

Dec 21, 2023, updated Dec 21, 2023

Charles Vincent Read’s lawyer Caroline Graves said the 24-year-old was remorseful and there was a sense of “skylarking and larrikinism” around several breaches of bail conditions.

Read started using alcohol and drugs, including methamphetamine, when he was 14 following the traumatic death of his father, Ms Graves said.

She said Read experienced bullying and notoriety at school and could become a self-fulfilling prophecy but noted “while there is life there is hope”.

“(He) would do well with an agent rather than a defence counsel,” she told Hobart Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

“He does have a personality … which probably attracts the good, bad and the ugly (but) he’s not blaming other people.”

Read’s father, known colloquially as “Chopper”, died in 2013 and was the subject of a film in 2000 about his life and time in prison.

Read and an accomplice stole about $7000 worth of cigarettes plus cash after breaking into a service station in southern Tasmania in December 2022.

When questioned by police after a search uncovered cigarettes at his house, Read said a mate must have dropped them off.

Ammunition was found on the floor of the bedroom and kitchen.

On New Year’s Eve 2022 police were called to a Hobart suburb to reports of a man shouting and scaring people with a harpoon gun.

Police found Read with a pocket knife and switch knife, and discovered the harpoon in a bush next to him.

He told officers he had the harpoon for protection.

In January, Read was caught driving while disqualified and in a separate incident abused a man at a house, calling him a pedophile and saying he would smash his head in.

Read breached bail conditions several times this year, including in July when he was spotted at a pub.

He wasn’t in the presence of his mother – one of the conditions of leaving his residence.

When nabbed by police, Read called officers “dogs” and “c****” and headbutted an officer, although the impact was “minimal”.

He previously pleaded guilty to all relevant charges, including burglary, stealing and possessing ammunition when not the holder of the appropriate firearm licence.

He also admitteddriving while disqualified, unlawfully possessing property, possessing a dangerous article in a public place, assaulting a police officer and breaching bail.

Ms Graves said Read couldn’t remember a crime that wasn’t related to drug use.

She said Read, who was already in custody, had the support of his extended family and would aim to return to work upon his release.

He was sentenced to a total of 15 months’ jail backdated to early June.

The sentence included an activated six-month suspended jail term for earlier drug and alcohol driving offences.

He was sentenced to six weeks’ jail, wholly suspended for two years, for the assault and also disqualified from driving for a total of 18 months.

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