‘The flatty gods have blessed me’: River prankster sentenced
A social media prankster who landed in court over stunts that went too far has expressed relief at his penalty.
Willem Ian Ungermann, 35, from Coolangatta, has been sentenced for six charges related to his behaviour on the water, and at a boat ramp.
The most serious of his offences could have attracted a maximum fine of $1 million or seven years in prison.
Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy fined Ungermann $15,000 and sentenced him to a three year community corrections order before Tweed Heads Local Court on Monday.
Ungermann had earlier pleaded guilty to not reversing a vehicle safely, driving without proper control of a vehicle, negligently disposing of waste causing harm to the environment, polluting waters and contravening a section of the Protection of Environment Operations Act over a 2019 prank where he repeatedly jackknifed a car and trailer before sinking them both at a Fingal Rd boat ramp on the Tweed River.
On Monday, he also pleaded guilty to negligently operating a recreational vessel, a charge which police laid more recently over a September, 2020 prank involving two boats at Tumbulgum.
Outside court, Ungermann said he was "very remorseful" for what happened and conceded he "wasn't thinking" at the time of the boat ramp incident.
"I feel extremely lucky," he said.
"The flatty gods have blessed me today and I'm not going to waste this second chance."
Flatheads - particularly of the 3m variety - are a recurring theme in Ungermann's videos.
The court heard of how he has also made a mark for his charitable contributions to the community, giving back money made on his channel to those in need.
"I'm very happy with the outcome today," he said.
He thanked his followers for their support throughout his court ordeal and described the magistrate as a "very, very nice man".
Ungermann said he was "extremely nervous" going into court on Monday.
"I was having a full anxiety attack in there," he said.
"I couldn't stand straight, my hands were sweating.
"He could have said 'you're going to jail'."
Ungermann said he has a new charity in the works, and plans to consult his lawyer on future pranks so he can "stay out of trouble" in future.
The court did not suspend his maritime licence and while the RMS does have the power to do so, Ungermann said he had not heard from the authority yet.
"I haven't heard anything and I hope not to hear anything," he said.