Road safety operators were harassed, intimidated and tailgated by a teen driver who was the administrator of a Facebook group exposing speed camera locations.
Brayden Wilson, 19, drove past an operator parked in Portland's Edgar Street on August 8, 2023.
He turned his high beam headlights on and did a U-turn before parking so his car was facing the road safety operator seated inside.
Wilson kept his lights on and flashed them directly at the car for about five minutes, the Portland Magistrates Court heard on November 21, 2023.
The operator, who felt anxious and concerned for his safety, packed up his work site and drove away.
The offending continued when Wilson observed another operator in Portland that same month.
He parked about 20 metres behind him for 30 minutes and filmed him on his phone.
The second victim felt terrified and drove away.
But Wilson followed him at short distance, keeping his high beams on which reflected off the victim's mirrors and forced him to reduce his speed.
He followed the victim for 40 minutes, only stopping when intercepted by police about two kilometres south of Yambuk.
The court heard the victim felt threatened, intimidated and scared for his safety as well as other road users.
The court heard a third operator was harassed at Portland-Nelson Road with Wilson parking behind him for 30 minutes with his high beams on.
When asked by police to turn them off, Wilson remained at the scene and activated flashing amber lights on the roof of his car for another 30 minutes before the victim drove away.
He pleaded guilty to intimidating a road safety operator, using hazard lights when not permitted and careless driving.
Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge said he was "somewhat staggered" with the charges, stating the conduct came perilously close to stalking and a jail sentence.
He said it was well-known speeding led to the death and/or serious injury of other road users, as well as a large emotional and financial toll on first responders.
The court heard Wilson told police he understood "how serious this whole thing is" and that it was a big wake up call.
But he said he didn't believe he had tailgated intentionally because he knew it was "quite dangerous".
Solicitor Julia Ray, representing Wilson, said her client was a young offender who ran a Facebook group exposing locations of speed cameras.
She said he was not the only administrator of the group but that is why he approached the operators.
She urged the court to consider a good behaviour bond without conviction.
But the magistrate said he would jail Wilson on the charges if he could.
The maximum penalty for the offences is a fine.
"This is egregious and outrageous offending," Mr Lethbridge said.
"People doing their lawful jobs should not be intimidated by thugs who want to entertain themselves and others by this sort of conduct. That needs to be a message that is sent out in the strongest possible terms."
Wilson was convicted, fined $2250 and his driver's licence was disqualified for 12 months.
Later that day Portland's Brayden McCluskey pleaded not guilty to similar offending.
The court heard he intentionally obstructed an operator's camera on Cape Nelson Road in April 2023 by parking closely behind the vehicle.
He then joined a group of people who were standing in a nearby driveway and staring at the victim.
The operator felt it was unsafe to leave his car and was forced to climb over the centre console into the driver's seat in order to leave the scene.
McCluskey asked the court for a diversion plan, which would allow him to avoid a criminal conviction, but the magistrate refused.
The accused man then said he would plead not guilty to the offences.
He will face court at another date.
A third man, who did not appear in court, was also charged with obstructing a road safety operator in July 2023. He parked 10 metres away and intentionally popped his bonnet to block the camera.
He was convicted and fined $700. His licence was suspended for two months.
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