Two men face court after friendly fishing trip hits a snag
A MAGISTRATE has chastised two men for stealing a third man's car after the trio spent the day on a fishing trip at Wooli earlier this year.
Billy Clarke, 24, and Aden Garry Hayward, 28, appeared in Grafton Local Court on Wednesday where they were convicted and sentenced for the January incident.
Clarke pleaded guilty to take and drive conveyance without consent of owner and common assault, while Hayward pleaded guilty to being carried in conveyance without consent of owner.
The court heard the two men and a third person, described in court documents as the "best friend" of Hayward, went for a fishing trip to Wooli in January this year.
The three consumed a number of alcoholic drinks during the trip before returning to the victim's residence.
While there, the court heard that Clarke had borrowed the victim's vehicle, with the consent of the victim, however after he returned an argument broke out between the pair.
Court documents state that Clarke then pushed the victim to the ground, and took the victim's car with Hayward in the passenger seat.
In Grafton Local Court Clarke's solicitor Dylan Beneke said his client's actions weren't premeditated, and that taking the victim's car was an act of frustration after the argument.
For his part, Hayward's solicitor Jason Hatch said the fight came as result of Clarke and the victim not seeing "eye-to-eye" and that Hayward made "the wrong decision to side with the co-accused" and leave the victim's place in the stolen car.
Magistrate Kathy Crittenden was scathing in her assessment of the actions of the pair, and said the harm done to the victim by Clarke's actions would have been significant, noting that after the assault he had called triple-0 straight away.
"I don't know what you think about this offending, but if the victim was your best mate, as you claimed, and this is how you treat your mates, it's a bit of a concern," Ms Crittenden told Hayward when making her judgment.
Clarke was sentenced to a community correction order for 12 months and fined $500, while Hayward was sentenced to a 12 month community correction order.