Man cops big fine for menacing text messages to teenager

IN WHAT his solicitor described as "a very odd offence", a 33-year-old man has paid a hefty price for sending menacing text messages to a teenager.

Leigh William Santillan had received information that a 17-year-old boy had supplied a 12-year-old relative of his with drugs at a party and that the teenager had photographed the younger person smoking the drug.

An angry Santillan started texting the teenager, calling him a "little grub" and telling him he would be going to jail for dealing drugs to such a young person, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard.

The teenager had replied with "who are you?", and Santillan had texted "Are you scared?"

As it transpired, the teenager was in fact 15 years of age, police prosecutor Sergeant Natalie Bugden told the court.

Compounding the offence was that Santillan was a "reportable offender" under the Child Protection Act arising from a conviction in 2015, Sgt Bugden said.

Reportable offenders must report any contact with a child under the age of 18 to police as part of their reporting obligations, and Santillan had not done that in this instance, the court heard.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to comply with reporting obligations.

Sgt Bugden told the court Santillan had been fined $450 in January for a similar breach of his reporting obligations.

The maximum penalty for the offence was 300 penalty units ($40,000) or five years in jail, she said.

His solicitor Jag MacDonald told the court that the matter was "a very odd offence".

His client had reacted "quite poorly" when he was told of the incident with the young relative, he said.

Magistrate Graham Lee said the maximum penalties reflected the seriousness with which the state parliament and the community considered the offence.

Mr Lee fined Santillan $900.
 



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