$20,000 vandalism earns $370 fine
AARON PECKHAM and his mates terrified the residents of two homes and did about $20,000 worth of damage to their cars.
But Peckham, 20, of Goonellabah, has walked out of court with only a $370 fine, 100 hours' community service and a good behaviour bond.
Now the owner of one of the cars Peckham vandalised wants the sentence to be appealed, saying the court didn't even order him to pay for the damage he'd done.
Peckham, accompanied by a large group, vandalised the two cars at Kadina Street, Goonellabah, last October.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of malicious damage of property and one count of trespass and was last Friday convicted of the offences.
But Amanda Langley, whose partner owned one of the two cars, said the punishment did not fit the crime and that she had asked the police to appeal the sentence.
Not only was neither her partner nor their neighbour compensated for the damage to their cars, Ms Langley said when she spoke out about the vandalism she was bashed so badly her eyesight was permanently damaged.
Ms Langley said she had dropped her six-year-old son off with one of her friends at the Goonellabah library a few days after speaking out and was on her way to buy groceries when she was attacked.
"I was walking up there and through the trees I could see Coles, so I thought I would walk up through there," Ms Langley said. "As I got to the top near the car park I got pulled into a bush and was just flogged. They just mashed up my face."
Ms Langley said she believed she was attacked because she spoke out. However, she did not know who attacked her and did not suggest Peckham was involved.
Because she was unable to describe her attacker, no one had been charged, she said.
The result was that Ms Langley was now frightened of the area she called 'home'.
Unable to buy groceries or take her son out without fearing she would again be attacked, she and her family have already left Goonellabah and will soon leave the Northern Rivers altogether.
Police facts tendered to the court described the attack on the two cars as 'frenzied', and listed the combined damage at about $9000.
Ms Langley said that figure was an early estimate, but insurance assessors had written both vehicles off, bringing the damage bill close to the $20,000 mark.
Details of the new damage assessment had been forwarded to the police prosecutor, she said.
The police facts said that Peckham, when he was interviewed by police, 'was visibly remorseful' for his actions.
When contacted by The Northern Star yesterday and asked if he would pay for the damage to the cars, Peckham said that was up to the court.
When told he could decide himself to compensate his victims, he said: "I guess I'll have to repay them." Asked if he had spoken with police, his solicitor or the court about how to do that, he hung up.