Caravan park hoon avoids a jail term

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Police say because it was school holidays, the caravan park was full of people.
Camera IconPolice say because it was school holidays, the caravan park was full of people.

A Bunbury man who says it was a “ridiculous decision” to speed through a caravan park while he hurled abuse at other guests has avoided jail.

Joshua Stephen Francis, 40, told how we was trying to help his partner following an argument when he drove through a security cable gate at Discovery Parks – Bunbury Village before driving at high speed through the park about 8.20pm on December 14 last year.

He appeared in Bunbury Magistrate’s Court on February 21 and pleaded guilty to criminal damage, dangerous driving and having no authority to drive.

Police prosecutor Jo Morrissey said because it was school holidays, the caravan park was full of people.

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Representing himself, Francis said he had “quite a bit” to say about the incident and while he admitted it was a ridiculous decision he was trying to get to his partner who’d left the car running outside the park after an argument.

Magistrate David MacLean asked Francis why he didn’t just walk, to which Francis responded that would have been a better decision “in hindsight”.

Francis said he had been staying at the park because he was homeless, but after being released from prison in 2016 he was getting his life back on track.

Francis said his focus was now on his family.

Magistrate MacLean told Francis he had exposed innocent and vulnerable people to great risk and the protection of the community was vital.

He said the offending was aggravated by the fact it was Francis’ fifth driving under suspension charge, but mitigating factors included the vulnerability of Francis’ family, the fact he was homeless at the time and his “misguided sense” to help his partner.

While Magistrate MacLean said jail was the only appropriate outcome, he said suspending the sentence was also appropriate.

Francis was sentenced to six months and one day jail, suspended for nine months.

He was also fined $1000 in total, $300 in restitution to the caravan park and had his license disqualified for nine months.

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