Dad and stepdaughter retaliate

A MAN and his stepdaughter pleaded guilty in Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday to eight counts of wilful damage in the form of graffiti throughout Gympie's CBD on January 3.

The court heard Jason Wayne Tonking, 39 and Courtney Jayne More, 17, of Ray St, wrote offensive words on a Mary St hair salon, two bus shelters, a glass door, a sign, a car park wall and two other walls on buildings including the Post Office, the Bank of Queensland, the Red Cross thrift store and the Stock Exchange pawnbrokers.

In committing the offence, Tonking breached a probation order that was issued on September 22, 2011.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Manns said CCTV footage was used to identify More and that the complainant suffered "a great deal of stress" as a result of the graffiti.

Snr Const Manns went on to say More had admitted to seven of the charges while her stepfather acted as lookout and he was the scribe for one of the offences.

Duty solicitor Leanne Gordon said More had once been friends with the complainant and believed the complainant had been guilty of leaving More's name and phone number at a service station at Curra.

Snr Const Manns objected, saying the name and phone number graffiti which Ms Gordon had photos of and handed up as evidence, was not proof the complainant had been the perpetrator.

Ms Gordon agreed it was not proof but it "goes to my client's motivation".

"Two wrongs to not make a right," she said, adding that Tonking had tried to talk More out of it but he did not want her going out at night.

Ms Gordon submitted that community service would be appropriate for the offences as it meant her clients could "give back to the community for no reward".

"At the end of the day it caused the complainant distress and damage to the community."

In sentencing, Magistrate Maxine Baldwin she was "somewhat surprised" that Tonking let himself get involved in a dispute between children, as that was what got him placed on probation last year.

Tonking was sentenced to complete 100 hours community service for the wilful damage offences and fined $200 for the breach which was converted to a further 10 hours community service.

Mrs Baldwin told More that she had to learn a better way of dealing with problems as Tonking was not always going to be around for the rest of her life.

"If people want to do things and say things about you, by reacting, they get out of you what they wanted," she said.

"You cannot go to that level.

"You must respect yourself.

"I know it's a big ask and hard for young people.

"You have to work out how to ignore the horrible people in the world."

More was placed on a bond to be of good behaviour for six months with a recognisance of $300 for the first offence and ordered to complete 60 hours community service for the remaining seven offences.

No conviction was recorded against her.

Gympie Times

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