Seek legal advice in future
IF you are being defamed, seek legal advice from a lawyer rather than taking matters into your own hands, an Emerald Magistrate has warned.
The stern warning was given to Jonathan David Dillon, who pleaded guilty to one count of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence recently.
Magistrate Cameron Press, after hearing the details of the case for which Mr Dillon, 28, appeared, said the offence bordered on a far more serious charge that could result in a harsher penalty.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Robyn Shapcott told the court that at 7.47pm on May 23, Mr Dillon rang another man’s mobile phone, who didn’t answer it.
Mr Dillon recorded a threatening voicemail message, which was reported to police.
It was a result of an ongoing dispute regarding another matter, she said.
“Mad ****, ******* Johnny ****, I did not steal your gear,” Sgt Shapcott read to the court.
“If you want to start ****, tell the cops.”
She said the charge for which Mr Dillon appeared was “borderline on a far more serious offence”.
“The victim felt threatened and feared for his safety,” she said.
After the victim reported the matter to police, Mr Dillon was contacted by officers and asked to participate in a recorded interview at the station.
While at the station, Sgt Shapcott said Mr Dillon “made more threats”.
She conceded to the court there was nothing of a like-nature in his prior history which she tendered to the court.
Following the close of the prosecution’s evidence, Mr Dillon was asked by Mgst Press if he had anything to say.
Mr Dillon said the man had been telling people in town he’d stolen “stuff”.
“So I took matters into my own hands,” Mr Dillon said.
“If you heard what he’d said, you would’ve taken matters into your own hands as well.”
However, Mgst Press interjected and sternly rejected the claim that he would have done something similar.
“No, I don’t think I would have done the same thing,” he said.
“There is a law.
“If someone says something - who cares?”
He advised Mr Dillon that, “if someone is defaming you, go to a lawyer,” to which Dillon replied: “Yep.”
Mgst Press fined Mr Dillon $400 and the conviction was not recorded.