New waterslides at Rockhampton.
New waterslides at Rockhampton. Allan Reinikka rok151217awatersl

Teen vandals forced to pay thousands for slide damage

THE four young vandals who wrecked Rockhampton's new water slides have learnt that foolish actions can have harsh consequences.

Reality came crashing down on the young men today as they sheepishly fronted Rockhampton Magistrates Court to receive their comeuppance answering to the charges of wilful damage and trespass.

In a classic case of "seemed like a good idea at the time", Police Prosecutor Sargent Kathy Stafford detailed how four 17-year-old former-North Rockhampton High School students - Dylan Jon Baynton, Jake Edward Petersen, James Christopher Aitken and Harlem Graham Russell - jumped the fence into North Rockhampton 42nd Battalion Memorial Pool at 11pm on December 16.

She said the teenagers went for a swim before attempting to push a mechanic's trolley down one of the open topped slides.

The trolley was initially wedged and force was used to push it a further 30cm down the slide before becoming wedged again, causing $7,040 worth of superficial damage to the new slide, which had only just opened to the public earlier that day.

Upon seeing the flashing police lights, the teens fled the scene, leaving the seat behind.

They were found by police shortly after.

The high profile of the crime consequently a sparked wipe-spread community outrage.

Faced with the harsh reality of their error in judgment, the court heard the young men were remorseful, embarrassed and willing to atone for their actions.

Magistrate Jeff Clarke recognised the teenager's lack of prior criminal history and their youthful lack of consideration of the ramifications of their actions when factoring in his punishment for their "foolish, immature and selfish act".

"You'll need to ensure you make better choices in life because actions have consequences and it's important that you choose to do the right thing in the community," Mr Clarke said.

No convictions were recorded but each of the teens was ordered to pay $1760 for the damages and to spend their next year compensating the community with 160 hours of community service.



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