Magistrate speaks out about growing violence

MAGISTRATE Andrew Eckhold has spoken out against matters of violence "seen far too often" in the Dubbo community.

He said an increasing number of people were trying to take the law into their own hands because they felt a sense of entitlement.

"It is just not on,'' the magistrate said.

"People do not have the right to act violently towards others. It is unacceptable.''

Magistrate Eckhold made the comments while sentencing Beau James Johnson in Dubbo Local Court. The 20-year-old welder pleaded guilty to charges of damaging property and intimidation.

An additional charge of aggravated break and enter was withdrawn and dismissed.

Agreed facts were tendered by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

A compensation claim of $70.50 was presented to the court.

The solicitor representing Johnson said the charges arose from an argument about rumours being spread in the local community.

Johnson went to a Baird Drive house and invited a man outside to fight. When the offer was refused a door was kicked causing damage.

"My client immediately realised he had done the wrong thing and tried to quell the situation,'' the solicitor said.

The court heard Johnson had no prior matters on his record and was co-operative with police.

"He is unlikely to offend again,'' the solicitor said.

Magistrate Eckhold told Johnson he was not entitled to try to take the law into his own hands:

"You don't want violence to happen to you or the people in your life so you shouldn't act violently towards others.''

The magistrate accepted damage to the door of the victim's home was at the lower end of the scale.

Johnson was placed on two-year good behaviour bonds for each matter. He was ordered to pay $83 court costs.

"It may seem that no penalty has been imposed but you are now required to do the right thing and stay out of trouble,'' Magistrate Eckhold said.

"If you re-offend you will be brought back to court to be re-sentenced.''

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