A road rage incident led police to an illegal weapons find and a jail term for Ipswich man Leo Tavita.
A road rage incident led police to an illegal weapons find and a jail term for Ipswich man Leo Tavita.

Axe comes out after victim beeps horn

WIELDING an axe, an enraged driver jumped out of his Hyundai Getz and threatened to burn down another driver’s house after chasing their car through backstreets.

The trigger for the ugly behaviour was a mere a toot of the car horn by the other driver.

The act of road rage committed by Leo Tavita led police to serious weapons offences, Ipswich Magistrates Court heard this week.

Investigating officers tracked down Tavita before finding a sawn-off shotgun in his car, and shot gun shells in his pocket.

Appearing from jail via video-link, Leo Tavita, 25, from Churchill, pleaded guilty to eight charges, including going armed to cause fear on August 31; driving while unlicensed; possession of a shotgun in Churchill on September 2; possession of shortened firearms; possession of a weapon with its serial number defaced; possession of shot gun shells without authority; possession of a drug utensil; and possession of scales used in a drug offence.

Tavita had spent 99 days in jail before his sentence on Thursday.

Prosecutor Sgt Molinaro said Tavita did not know his two victims in the car.

“It is clear there was no provocation,” Sgt Molinaro said.

She said Tavita drove around the other car and cut them off.

Its driver then beeped the horn at him and Tavita stopped and made gestures at the driver.

The driver went around Tavita’s small Getz and drove along Chermside Road, but Tavita gave chase through the backstreets.

Sgt Molinaro said the driver believed he had lost Tavita near Thorn St and Salisbury Road but when he stopped the Getz pulled up behind him.

Tavita got out, holding a yellow axe, and made threats to both people “to burn their house down”.

“He had the axe in his hand when he made the threats,” Sgt Molinaro said.

In fear they called the police and he left.

When police located Tavita on September 2 the sawn-off shotgun was found on the car seat.

Police sought a jail term of 18 months, saying a strong penalty was needed because of his appalling history.

Defence lawyer Amy Zanders said Tavita was a Samoan-born father of two who got into drugs and crime after a marriage breakdown.

Ms Zanders said he was likely to be deported after serving the sentence.

Magistrate Andy Cridland said the driver beeped the horn after Tavita had cut his car off.

He then tried to stop their car before following them and making threats to burn their house.

Mr Cridland sentenced Tavita to 18 months’ jail.

With time already served, a parole date of March 2 next year was set.

Tavita was disqualified from driving for six months. He must return to the District Court in regard to offending while on a suspended sentence.



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