Butt found at crime scene nabs man

AN IPSWICH man who vandalised earthmoving equipment five years ago with a group of youths has faced court after DNA from a discarded cigarette left at the scene finally caught up with him.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard the man, who was a juvenile at the time and cannot be named, was among a group of youths who threw rocks at three front-end loaders and other earthmoving equipment in March 2005.

The young vandals then filled the vehicle’s fuel tanks with fertiliser, causing about $10,000 in damage.

The man, aged 16 at the time, left a cigarette at the scene that was analysed and a DNA match was returned last year.

It is unknown why the group targeted the machines as the defendant declined to participate in a police interview.

But the man, now aged 21, pleaded guilty in court this week to wilful damage.

Defence lawyer Alexis Oxley said her client had limited criminal history after the incident and had since become a qualified fitter and turner.

Ms Oxley said the man had little memory of the incident but he did remember throwing rocks several years ago. Magistrate Matthew McLaughlin said it was difficult to sentence the man as he had managed to turn his life around and probation was probably unnecessary now.

“It’s always difficult to sentence someone many years after they’ve committed an offence, particularly if they’ve been keeping out of trouble since then,” Mr McLaughlin said.

“A reasonably modest fine is the best way to deal with it.”

The man was fined $500, he was not ordered to pay restitution to the earthmoving company, and no conviction was recorded.



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