Magistrate frustrated by sentence for fake police
WARWICK'S magistrate has been forced to let two men who impersonated police walk free from court, despite a desire to jail them.
Magistrate Bevan Manthey yesterday vented his frustration at not having the power to put Warwick men Joshua Lee McIntosh, 27, and Michael John Kielly, 24, behind bars.
The men used a coloured strobe light they borrowed from a friend to intercept a car on January 11.
The car pulled over and McIntosh and Kielly stopped behind them for a short time before driving off.
Defence lawyer Phillip Crook told the Warwick Magistrates Court his clients thought the people in the car would know it was them and would realise it was "fun and games".
"I have since spoken to them about the seriousness of the charges. It seems they didn't put their brains into gear that day," he said.
Mr Crook suggested probation as a suitable punishment for the men but Mr Manthey said that was not an option as he was restricted by legislation to only impose a fine.
Mr Manthey said the offence had the potential to do serious damage in the community.
"It is dangerous conduct that could have gone to crap quickly," he said.
"They aren't 17 years old - they're 24 and 27.
"People have been apprehended by other so-called police officers and then suffered serious health issues."
Mr Manthey acknowledged McIntosh's significant criminal history and said the Warwick man was lucky to be walking out the same way he walked in.
"My view is there should be jail for this; there needs to be an amendment to the Act or bring it under another Police Powers and Responsibilities Act where jail can be imposed," he said.
"If I had the power today, (McIntosh) would be going through that door - no way in hell he would be walking back out that door,
"But I haven't got the power today - all I can do is give a fine."
McIntosh and Kielly were each fined $800 and McIntosh was also disqualified for driving for one month.