Car yard vandal Jem McPherson leaves the Lismore Courthouse yesterday after being sentenced in the Lismore Local Court.
Car yard vandal Jem McPherson leaves the Lismore Courthouse yesterday after being sentenced in the Lismore Local Court. David Nielsen

Car yard vandal gets $12,420 bill

TEENAGER Jem McPherson won’t be walking into a Lismore new car showroom any time soon.

The 18-year-old was ordered by Lismore Local Court Magistrate Robyn Denes to pay more than $12,000 compensation to two Ballina Road car dealers following his wild smashing spree over two nights, vandalising around 15 cars.

Cars parked at one car yard were attacked by the teen twice in four weeks.

McPherson, of Lismore, was convicted after pleading guilty to two counts of intentionally recklessly damaging motor vehicles on November 19 in the City Toyota and Neil Pollard car yards; and one count of intentionally recklessly damaging motor vehicles at the Neil Pollard car yard on October 18 last year.

In evidence before the court,unresolved anger and alcohol were given as reasons for both attacks.

McPherson escaped a jail sentence and was ordered to do 80 hours’ unpaid community service work, pay compensation of $12,420 and was placed on an 18-month good behaviour bond.

When the matter came before the court just before Christmas, police said the damage bill was close to $36,000. But yesterday the two car yards sought the smaller amount. There was no mention of whether their insurance was covering the rest of the damages bill.

In the vandalism at City Toyota, McPherson threw a shopping trolley against a car that landed on the bonnet causing dents and scratches to the vehicle.

He then jumped onto the bonnets and windscreens of six other Toyotas causing dents, scratches and smashing windscreens.

He also broke the side mirrors of two other cars.

McPherson’s actions were recorded on car yard CCTV.

In another cask wine-fuelled attack the teen jumped on nine cars causing dents before jumping on and smashing the windscreens.

Defence lawyer Stephen Tester said the question before the court was why his client acted the way he did. His parents had also wanted to know the reason.

“He had a lot of anger built up inside him and it came out in this very serious display of damage to property,” Mr Tester said.

“He was affected by alcohol, but is not putting it forward as an excuse, more as a ... factor that ended with an inappropriate explosion of anger.”

Mr Tester put forward a number of matters, including psychological reports, that his client was now addressing.

Ms Denes said rehabilitation was the primary aim of sentencing young people, with McPherson only 18 at the time of other offences.

She said his punishment would be to pay the damages bill.



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