Social media prankster Willem Powerfish, who is already facing penalties for allegedly sinking a car and boat in a river, is in hot water again.
Social media prankster Willem Powerfish, who is already facing penalties for allegedly sinking a car and boat in a river, is in hot water again.

Prankster's lawyers shocked by new charge

A SOCIAL media prankster already facing a maximum penalty of $1 million fine or seven years in jail for allegedly sinking a car and boat in a river is in hot water for a separate stunt.

Willem Ian Ungermann, also known as Willem Powerfish, has built a cult following by uploading videos of himself to social media dressed in skin-tight Lycra while playing out outrageous pranks mostly on fishermen in the Tweed.

Willem Ian Ungermann, 35, better known as Willem Powerfish to his fans, faces six charges in Tweed Heads Local Court. Picture: Instagram.
Willem Ian Ungermann, 35, better known as Willem Powerfish to his fans, faces six charges in Tweed Heads Local Court. Picture: Instagram.


In one of Ungermann's earlier videos he was filmed using a giant inflatable flat head as a surfboard and dropping in on surfers at Snapper Rocks.

But it was a stunt filmed in 2019 that landed the keen angler in hot water.

He was charged after allegedly reversing his car and boat into Tweed River on November 20, 2019.

It is alleged a bystander called police when he continuously jackknifed the car and trailer at the Fingal Rd boat ramp.

Police allege the "dangerous" stunt was filmed by a freelance videographer and later uploaded to Ungermann's YouTube channel Willem Powerfish.

 

Willem Ian Ungermann will be sentenced in Tweed Court next month after being charged by police after filming a “dangerous stunt” for a YouTube video. Picture: YouTube
Willem Ian Ungermann will be sentenced in Tweed Court next month after being charged by police after filming a “dangerous stunt” for a YouTube video. Picture: YouTube

The four-minute video called Boat Ramp Session Vol 3 has 1.2 million views on Facebook and shows him jackknifing a boat trailer several times while a stressed-out bystander attempts to help.

It ends with Ungermann reversing the car at speed down the boat ramp and sinking the car and trailer into the river.

 

 

While sitting in the sinking car, Ungermann said: "(Expletive), I've done a mischief. I didn't picture it like this. (Expletive) me what a dog of a (expletive). I love you Rex (Hunt)."

The 35-year-old was to be sentenced in Tweed Heads Local Court on Monday to five charges including negligently disposing of waste causing environmental harm, with a maximum fine of $1m or seven years' jail, but his case was adjourned after police laid a further charge to an unrelated stunt.

Willem Ian Ungermann, also known as Willem Powerfish, is facing six charges including negligently disposing of waste causing environmental harm, with a maximum fine of $1m or seven years’ jail. Picture: Instagram.
Willem Ian Ungermann, also known as Willem Powerfish, is facing six charges including negligently disposing of waste causing environmental harm, with a maximum fine of $1m or seven years’ jail. Picture: Instagram.

He is facing a new charge of operating a recreational vessel negligently. The charge came from a stunt on September 30, 2020 at Tumbulgum in which Ungermann was allegedly filmed crashing his 4.8m Stessco boat into a mate's boat during a video called Catching a Crab Pot Thief.

Defence barrister Mary Keaney, instructed by Corey Cullen from Cullen Lawyers, asked for the case to be adjourned because she was "taken by surprise" by the new charge.

Ungermann told reporters outside of court he was nervous and remorseful, and was ready to "pay the price for his actions".

Willem Ungermann, better known as Willem Powerfish to his fans, leaving Tweed Heads Local Court with defence lawyer Corey Cullen. Picture: Jodie Callcott.
Willem Ungermann, better known as Willem Powerfish to his fans, leaving Tweed Heads Local Court with defence lawyer Corey Cullen. Picture: Jodie Callcott.

"All I ever try to do is make people laugh and promote mental health," he said. "I do it in a very different way to what other organisations do and I think whatever we're doing, it might not be looked upon as the right way, but it is working.

"I don't think it's (court case) going to stop me from making videos but we might have to change the direction of how we do them."

His case will return to court for sentence next month.

jodie.callcott@news.com.au

 

Originally published as Willem Powerfish's lawyers shocked by new charge



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