Victims being given a chance to have their say to offenders

A WARRNAMBOOL man involved in about 30 targeted attacks on Asian workers will have to face his victims.

A magistrate on Friday ordered Jeremy Stacey, 20, of Carramar Crescent, Warrnambool, to participate in a group conferencing process.

Stacey, pleaded guilty in a magistrate’s court to a range of charges relating to causing damage by throwing eggs and rocks at Asian workers and their homes.

His sentencing has been adjourned until October 10. He has been bailed with the condition to take part in the group conference.

In a police summary of evidence, Stacey was blamed for initiating the offending with co-defendants, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, saying he had an issue with the Asian meat workers and a vendetta against a Japanese school teacher. 

The offending mostly happened between April and August last year when members of a group went for drives with Stacey in his car.

In the up to 30 attacks, there were 17 homes, mostly in west Warrnambool, which were egged or rocked and several were targeted several times.

One of the defendants said they thought they would get away with the offending because the meat workers were unlikely to report the attacks to police because of their language barrier.

A solicitor for one defendant said the offending was particularly unsavoury.

"It's received a lot of publicity, its been banner headlines in the local paper," he said, explaining his client was embarrassed and humiliated.

The solicitor said there were eggings happening in 2015 and early last year, which the group thought were "funny" then started participating in.

None of the defendants had previously or since the offending been in any trouble.

The magistrate said the offending was a "real leap" from a childish prank, the group members targeted Asian meat workers and kept attacking them.

The magistrate said the reason the victims were in Warrnambool was because no one else would do the work.

"We will not get our hands dirty," the magistrate said.

"I accept they're sorry, but I don't know if they are sad and sorry they got caught or because they're thinking it is just so wrong.”

A juvenile justice worker said a group conference could be organised so the offenders could confront what they had done with company representatives. The victims would be given a chance to participate.

The magistrate said that process may be exhaustive but it would allow for "real reflection" from the defendants and allow the victims to have their say.

The case has prompted Warrnambool leaders to state their support for Asian workers in the city and declaring the community welcoming to overseas residents.

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