Drink releases inner demon

By HELEN JACK helen.jack@northernstar.com.au JAMES AUSTIN became a man on a mission after he drank a bottle of vodka as an antidote to an argument he had with his girlfriend.

It cost him a conviction and a stiff fine. The 18-year-old Casino man arrived home from work at the Northern Rivers Meat Cooperative on October 26 and began an on-line chat with his girlfriend that descended into an argument.

Austin consumed nearly the entire contents of a 750ml bottle of vodka and set out to walk to his girlfriend's house in Johnson Street, Casino.

Austin's mother, responding to a call from her son to pick him up, found him near his girlfriend's home and attempted to get him into the car.

After resisting for a little while, Austin finally relented and was taken home.

A short time later he wandered off again towards his girlfriend's house with police this time returning him home.

Determined in his mission to visit his girlfriend, Austin took off once more but this time wandered to the wrong house and fell asleep on its verandah.

When the occupant of the house, an elderly woman, noticed the man she called police.

When awoken, Austin began to yell abuse at the woman, banging on the front door and smashing a window.

Terrified, the woman hid in a shed in her back yard until police arrived.

Austin pleaded guilty in Lismore Local Court on Monday to malicious damage and offensive language.

Magistrate Annette Sinclair said the matter was not just about breaking a window.

"You frightened this woman in her own home," she said. "She is entitled to feel safe in her own home and it does not matter that you had been drinking.

"The effect of this matter will be with her for a long time.

"I am concerned also by the amount of alcohol you drank and if this is the way you deal with matters in your life you will end up back here.

"You were brought back home by your mother and the police twice.

"You wanted trouble and you found it."

The court was told Austin had already written a letter of apology to the woman and had paid for repairs to her window.

Austin was convicted and fined $640 plus court costs.



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