A 31-year-old Warrnambool man who's car was torched has been placed on a bond after falsely blaming, assaulting and robbing an intellectually disabled 16-year-old child.
Jason Szerszyn, of Emma Avenue, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Friday to robbery, theft, and unlawful assault.
He was convicted, placed on the two-year good behaviour bond and ordered to pay $2000 to the court fund.
Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge warned Szerszyn if he breached the bond by committing offences of dishonesty or violence he could expect to be re-sentenced and jailed.
Police told the court Szerszyn's car was broken into and set alight by two men which was captured on security camera footage in early April last year.
Szerszyn was driving home days later when he saw the victim, approached and yelled at him and then grabbed him around the neck, choking him for about a minute.
When Szerszyn was interviewed by police he admitted taking items from the victim as he wanted something in return for his car being torched.
Defence counsel Xavier Farrelly said his client's prior offending related to a dispute in a share house.
He said Szerszyn returned the items to the disabled victim as soon as he calmed down and realised the victim was not involved.
The lawyer claimed there were "some similarities" between the victim and one of the offenders seen in the CCTV.
The magistrate said it appears Szerszyn had suffered some bad luck in having his car burnt.
Mr Farrelly said the incident put his client's employment at risk, but the vehicle was set alight by a young man with alcohol issues who had been involved in other crime.
He said it was part of the city where more offending was committed.
Mr Lethbridge told Szerszyn that bad luck seemed to follow him.
"Here you are acting as a vigilante and as so often happens with people acting like this you got the wrong person," he said.
"The law is crystal clear on this, there's only one institution that deals with such matters in a civilised society and that's the criminal courts."
The magistrate said an innocent 16-year-old had been traumatised.
"This was outrageous behaviour. I understand you felt angry and aggravated, but to rob a child, who had nothing to do with it anyway, was scandalous ... it was a stupid spontaneous act."
The magistrate said Szerszyn had a rush of blood but he was building a poor criminal record.
"You need to think things through more in the future," he said.
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