Road rage attack driver was claiming ‘bragging rights’

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
VideoSamuel Josef King, 21, of Leschenault, leaves court.

A driver who live-streamed a disturbing road rage attack to social media was claiming bragging rights, according to police prosecutors.

Samuel Josef King, 21, of Leschenault, was due to be sentenced in Bunbury Magistrates Court this afternoon after hours earlier confessing to the September 30 incident.

But after hearing submissions from the prosecutor and King’s lawyer, Magistrate Belinda Coleman conceded that while an immediate term of imprisonment was “certainly on the table” she needed further information before sentencing the reckless driver.

Police prosecutor Sgt Greg Ward argued that King’s actions were “so reckless” that an immediate jail term was the only option and the only explanation for King uploading the video to Facebook was for bragging rights.

King was driving a Holden utility on Old Coast Road in Australind when he retaliated to an alleged altercation with another driver by accelerating heavily, reaching excessive speeds and at times crossing to the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic.

The court was told, King handed his passenger a “child-size” baseball bat – which he kept in the car to play fetch with his dog – and told him to “smash him with that” while filming the incident on a mobile phone.

The road rage attack continued onto Forrest Highway where King’s passenger allegedly hung out of the moving car and smashed the other driver’s window.

King later handed himself in to police and his utility was seized.

Samuel Josef King, 21, of Leschenault, leaves court after his first appearance.
Camera IconSamuel Josef King, 21, of Leschenault, leaves court after his first appearance. Credit: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times

In court today, King pleaded guilty to reckless driving, criminal damage, being armed with a baseball bat in a way that may cause fear and driving while using a mobile phone.

After a short adjournment so she could watch the footage, Magistrate Coleman described the vision as “very disturbing” and said King’s actions were at the “upper end of the scale”.

Defence lawyer Paul Chapman told of how King was being tail-gated and had something thrown at his car before he made a “split second” decision to react the way he did.

Mr Chapman said King was shocked by his reaction and had since received counselling.

He also said King had a low IQ and filming the incident – which did not “make any sense at all” – proved that.

Magistrate Coleman said the charges were “extremely serious” and she had “not made a final determination”.

She said ultimately King could be facing time behind bars or a pre-sentence order.

Magistrate Coleman ordered pre-sentence and psychological reports and adjourned sentencing to January.

King’s alleged passenger is due to appear in court next week.

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