In the early hours of January 2023, Matthew Foster, alongside his co-accused William Rogers, engaged in a daring and unlawful escapade, breaking into a residence to steal not one, but two Mercedes Benz vehicles. Foster, acting alone in the first instance and then as an accessory before the fact in the subsequent theft, orchestrated these crimes while the homeowners were asleep, showcasing a blatant disregard for both the law and the safety of the victims. This case, adjudicated in the NSW District Court by Newlinds SC DCJ, brings to light the intricate relationship between criminal behaviour, drug addiction, and the quest for justice.


Legal Context

Foster faced charges under ss 111(2) and 154F of the Crimes Act 1900, encompassing aggravated entry with intent and motor vehicle theft, with the added complexity of a prohibited drug possession charge under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, s 10(1). These legal provisions frame the gravity of Foster’s actions, indicating the severe penalties that such offences attract. The case also delved into the nuances of parole violation and the implications of committing a crime whilst under the watchful eye of the law.


Suspension and Appeal for Stay

The revocation of Foster’s parole, due to his involvement in these offences, underscores the challenges faced by the legal system in rehabilitating repeat offenders. This aspect of the case raises pertinent questions about the effectiveness of parole as a tool for preventing recidivism, especially in the context of individuals with a significant criminal history and ongoing drug use issues.


Assessment of Crime

The court’s assessment of the objective seriousness of Foster’s crimes considered several key factors, including the premeditated nature of the offences, the value of the stolen property, and the unsettling reality that the victims were at home during the burglaries. Despite these aggravating factors, the crimes were deemed to be slightly below the mid-range for such offences, reflecting a nuanced approach to sentencing that takes into account the broader context of the offender’s circumstances.


Considerations on Public Safety and Trust

Foster’s actions not only violated the sanctity of the victims’ home but also posed a broader threat to public safety and trust in the legal system’s capacity to protect the community from harm. The case highlights the critical balance that must be struck between punishing offenders, safeguarding the public, and offering avenues for rehabilitation.


Appellate Decision

In determining Foster’s sentence, the court navigated the principles of accumulation and totality, ultimately imposing an aggregate sentence of 3 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 2 years. This decision reflects an attempt to adequately punish the offender while also recognising the potential for rehabilitation, signified by the designation of special circumstances that justified a departure from the usual non-parole ratio.



R v Foster [2024] NSWDC 2 elucidates the complexities of sentencing in the modern legal landscape, where the interplay of criminal behaviour, personal circumstances, and societal expectations demands a careful and considered response. The case serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by the legal system in balancing the needs of justice, rehabilitation, and community protection.


Seeking Legal and Professional Guidance

For legal practitioners and those navigating the criminal justice system, R v Foster offers critical insights into the sentencing process for serious offences, highlighting the importance of understanding the legal framework, the nuances of individual cases, and the broader implications of criminal behaviour on society. As the legal community continues to grapple with these issues, the case underscores the need for a multidisciplinary approach to addressing crime, punishment, and rehabilitation in contemporary Australia.