A top New Zealand lifesaver who threw a tub of KFC coleslaw that struck a father and daughter has been ordered to pay fines and compensation of $750 in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court in Australia.
Lawyer Alicia Thomas yesterday said her client, Kane Jacob Sefton, had been the subject of attention in media and social media.
Ms Thomas submitted that the "public shaming" be taken into account when sentencing Sefton to a charge of public nuisance and another of wilful damage over the April 24 incident, which occurred when the teenager was on the Sunshine Coast during the Australia Surf Life Saving championships.
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The 17-year-old had originally been charged with two counts of assault but they were downgraded into the one public nuisance charge after discussions between police and his lawyer.
He remained in New Zealand during today's sentencing and listened by telephone, responding politely to the magistrate when requested.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Stephen Potter told the court a tub of coleslaw had been thrown from a vehicle on Alexandra Parade, striking a father and his four-year-old daughter while they were next to their car.
He feels extremely badly about what happened.
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Sgt Potter said the child had salad on her legs, arms, and torso and was visibly distressed when police arrived a few minutes later, and there was also salad over the car seat.
He said police checked with KFC and tracked the vehicle down to a Maroochydore address where they spoke to Sefton, who said he knew cars were parked along the road when he threw the salad but it had not occurred to him he might strike someone with it.
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Ms Thomas said that while her client was a high achiever, he was still a teenager that had paid a high price for a spontaneous act.
"He was so upset about it that he wanted to apologise to the child in particular," she said.
"He feels extremely badly about what happened," she said.
She said he had not been disciplined yet by his club or by Surf Life Saving Australia but had already faced consequences, such as losing a captaincy role.
Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist fined Sefton a total of $500 on both charges and ordered he pay $250 compensation and restitution.
He said took into account Sefton's previously clean record, that the behaviour had been "out of character" and the effect of public shaming.
"This would be something you wouldn't be repeating in the future," Mr Stjernqvist said.
- Sunshine Coast Daily