A former Burnie man who punched a person he saw kick a baby possum should not have taken the law into his own hands, the Launceston Magistrates Court heard.
Alexander Geoffrey Strates, 21, pleaded guilty to common assault, injured property and disorderly conduct. Police prosecutor Jack Fawdrey said Strates, then 19, was parked at the Burnie Yacht Club when he saw a car stop for a possum walking across the road.
"The defendant was parked and observed the complainant kick the possum off the road," Mr Fawdrey said. "The defendant walked to the car and said 'do you think its funny to kick a possum'."
The court heard that the complainant conceded he probably shouldn't have done it. Strates then punched him to the face and threw him to the ground.
Magistrate Ken Stanton said in sentencing that an unprovoked punch in the face was a serious thing.
"You were seeking to redress something you saw as a wrong ," he said. "You don't take matters into your own hands you report it to authorities."
The court heard that Strates picked up the possum and drove it to a friend who cared for injured animals.
Mr Fawdrey told the court the injured property count occurred in December 2019 when the defendant's friend believed the complainant had swapped him a "dud vehicle".
He went with a friend to the home of the complainant at Somerset. Here, Strates' friend verbally confronted the complainant about the vehicle swap, the court heard.
"The defendant went to the vehicle and retrieved a metal baseball bat and approached a blue BMW and smashed the rear window and then moved around and smashed the passenger window."
The court heard that the damage was worth $645. Strates was in the company of another person when a sustained confrontation with police in Burnie occurred, comprising disorderly conduct.
Mr Stanton described Strates' conduct as that of a vigilante and said he was considering a suspended jail term or community correction order. However, defence counsel Beri Kurdistan submitted that Strates was a young offender who had made significant efforts to address his issues.
She said he had moved to Hobart because he recognised the need to leave poor influences in Burnie behind, had obtained a job in a paper factory and had sought treatment for anger management.
"He has good prospects of being a valuable citizen."
Mr Stanton fined him $1300 and made a $645 compensation order. He said that going out with others to seek redress and using a baseball bat was very disturbing.
"Fortunately you have taken yourself away and removed influences and you have now got a job," he said. "I think a substantial fine is the appropriate sentence." Now let's not see you back [before the court].
"You won't," Strates replied.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: