Timboon man celebrates release by trashing mate's car

A TIMBOON man who trashed a mate’s car soon after getting early release from a youth justice centre has been fined $1000 and has to pay compensation of more than $5000.

Rhys Dance, 21, of Barrett Street, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court this week to driving while disqualified, careless driving and theft of a motor vehicle.

He was convicted and fined $1000 and has to pay compensation on $5273.84.

In September 2010 Dance was sentenced to serve 30 months in a youth justice centre after pleading guilty in the County Court to a serious assault charge. The next month he was handed an additional two months to serve for driving offences. But Dance was released on pre-parole after serving just 11 months in October 10, 2011. 

Soon after, Dance and the owner of the vehicle were together and Dance bought alcoholic drinks and left them in the victim’s car — a Subaru Forester. 

Dance, the theft victim and friends then went to the Warrnambool central business district socialising. 

About 2am Dance left the CBD to go and get his drinks. He took the victim’s keys and was to leave them under a pot plant. But Dance got in the vehicle and drove it recklessly. 

A witness described Dance as “flooring it” and driving like an idiot. 

He drove north in Gladstone Street, hitting a gutter and causing extensive damage to the car. The total damage bill was $5273.84. At the time Dance’s driver’s licence was disqualified until October 2014.

Defence counsel Matthew Senia explained his client’s offending could be put down to stupidity, alcohol use and youthful immaturity.

He said the offending happened soon after release from custody on pre-parole, which was a high-risk time for reoffending and in the past 14 months he had not been in any more trouble. 

Mr Senia said Dance had a solid work history and had now bought a house.

Magistrate Kaye Robertson told Dance if he had not pleaded guilty he would have been sentenced to a jail term.

She said Dance had beached a friend’s trust, but since the offending he had got his life on track.