Thursday, 24 April 2008

NSW cracks down on rock-throwers

The New South Wales Government is introducing laws to make it illegal to throw rocks at vehicles or boats, whether the rock hits them or not.

Under the changes it will no longer be a defence for an offender to say they did not mean to hurt anyone.

NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos says under the new laws someone found guilty of the offence could spend five years in jail.

"The offence will apply to any person who intentionally throws or drops on or towards a vehicle or vessel on a road, rail or waterway and it delivers on a commitment by the [NSW] Government to legislate against this type of behaviour," he said.

"Rock throwing is a stupid and idiotic act which is extremely dangerous and won't be tolerated."

The laws have been announced a day after three teenagers were questioned by police over a rock-throwing incident in Sydney's West.

A driver called police about 4:30am (AEST) yesterday and reported the boys throwing rocks from the overpass at Cowpasture Road in Bossley Park.

Detective Acting Inspector Bob Tunks says officers found the 17-year-olds in nearby scrub.

"The boys ran off and were caught a short time later by police. All the boys have been spoken to," he said.

"At this stage police are making further enquires. The boys will be brought back to the station in a couple of days time and a decision will be made in regard to what action will be taken in regards to them."

Debate about rock-throwing laws was prompted by an incident in which a rock thrower caused a woman permanent brain damage.

The rock shattered the car's side window, hitting the rear passenger, 22-year-old Nicole Miller, in the head and shattering her skull.

In March 2008, a 25-year-old man was sentenced to four years in jail for the attack.

Quote: The fact is that children and youths will always throw something. For instance; if a person skipped a rock across the water and it landed next to a vehicles or boat do they get 5 years jail anyway? Why should taxpayers pay for that stupidity? What the state government is saying is we have got plenty of taxpayers money to throw away on learning curves? This is nothing but cheap political stunts and diversionary grandstanding over law and order issues. I'm sure the laws already cover throwing misiles at a person or property and 'depending on the damage caused' to that person or property, then a fine or punishment is imposed. Quote: "In March 2008, a 25-year-old man was sentenced to four years in jail for the attack."

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