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Next time it's jail, says judge

Friday, 1st March, 2013

A man who was convicted of throwing a milk carton at on oncoming bus, shattering its windscreen, and of being involved in a vicious assault has been told he will go A man who was convicted of throwing a milk carton at on oncoming bus, shattering its windscreen, and of being involved in a vicious assault has been told he will go "straight to jail" if he errs a third time

A man who was convicted of throwing a milk carton at on oncoming bus, shattering its windscreen, and of being involved in a vicious assault has been told he will go "straight to jail" if he errs a third time.

District Court Judge Jennifer English issued the warning to 21-year-old Aiden Jacob Nicholas yesterday after suspending the sentences he received for the two separate offences in the Local Court last year.

In August, Mr Nicholas was fined and sentenced to 12 months' jail, with a non parole period of six months, for intentionally throwing a milk carton at a tour bus on the Menindee Road on August 4, 2011.

Mr Nicholas, who was in a car travelling in the opposite direction with three other people, admitted throwing the carton but denied he was aiming for the bus.

He claimed he was cleaning rubbish out of the car at the time and didn't see the bus because he had his head down.

The bus driver, who received cuts to his face from the shattered windscreen, and at least one passenger told police they saw an arm extend out of
the car's front passenger side window moments before the carton struck the windscreen.

Mr Nicholas, who was sentenced under legislation introduced following a spate of incidents involving the throwing rocks and other objects onto
highways, lodged an allgrounds appeal against his conviction.

Yesterday, Judge English told the court she was satisfied that he had indeed aimed for the bus but that it was a "spontaneous type" of offence done
without any thought of the consequences.

She wholly suspended the sentence and placed Mr Nicholas on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

Mr Nicholas also appealed against the severity of a sentence imposed on him by the Local Court for his part in a violent assault on a man in Oxide Street in February 2011.

Along with an accomplice Mr Nicholas punched and kicked the victim and struck him with a tyre lever. He was sentenced to 15 months' jail with a non parole period of six months.

Mr Nicholas' lawyer, Wes Burton, told the court that since then his client had taken steps to address his behaviour, had not committed any other offences and had undergone intensive counselling.

He said a jail sentence would have a "crushing effect" on his client who had been given a "wake-up call".

Judge English said the attack was particularly violent, included the use of a weapon and had only stopped when a passer-by intervened.

But she said Mr Nicholas, who admitted to having a drug problem at the time, was more likely to benefit from more counselling than a custodial sentence.

She wholly suspended the sentence and placed Mr Nicholas on a good behaviour bond for 15 months, ordering him to accept the supervision and guidance of the parole service.

She also warned him that he now had her "hanging over him" for the next 15 months, and if he reoffended he would "go straight to jail" for at least six months.

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