Prankster caught out in court

Mag­is­trate hears YouTube kid­nap­ping prank wasted po­lice time

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Tobi Lof­tus tobi.lof­

SHANE Hung thought he was only par­tic­i­pat­ing in a harm­less YouTube prank that would de­light view­ers on the In­ter­net.

What he did not ex­pect was to be charged with false rep­re­sen­ta­tion caus­ing a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Hung pleaded guilty to the charge in the Gayn­dah Mag­is­trates Court on July 14.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor Pepe Gangemi said three peo­ple were in­volved in the prank.

“What hap­pened was that at about 3.30am on Oc­to­ber 21 2015, (Hung) pulled up at the 7/11 on Bri­bie Is­land,” Mr Gangemi said.

“A fe­male got out of the boot, ran away and was pur­sued by the de­fen­dant (and another male).

“(The other male) brought her back and put her in the boot.

“A wit­ness saw that and re­ported it to the po­lice, who didn’t know it was a prank.”

Mr Gangemi said the sub­se­quent po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion cost $3202.68.

De­fence lawyer John Wil­lett said the charge against Hung was one not of­ten seen be­fore the court.

“My client is only a party to it, but he was the driver ... and went along with the other man’s idea of stag­ing a prank,” MrWil­lett said.

Mag­is­trate An­drew Hackett orig­i­nally ques­tioned the va­lid­ity of the charges.

“I’m con­cerned there may not be of­fence and this of­fence may not check out as there was no di­rect rep­re­sen­ta­tion to po­lice,” Mr Hackett said.

“If he turned up to the po­lice sta­tion and pre­tended to hit her and blood came out that would be rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”

Mr Hackett then con­sulted with the Act and could not find any spe­cific men­tions that the rep­re­sen­ta­tion had to be to po­lice.

“Un­less there is a case of rep­re­sen­ta­tion that says it must be to po­lice...I’ll ac­cept the charges,” he said.

Mr Hackett said this case showed how dan­ger­ous a prank could be.

“Imag­ine if the po­lice of­fi­cer rolled their car off the road try­ing to save the girl,” Mr Hackett said.

“There are con­se­quences for your ac­tions and things can go badly for a lit­tle fun.

“That’s the prob­lem with the in­ter­net and YouTube; peo­ple can sus­pend com­mon sense for a prank.”

Mr Hackett fined Hung $800 and or­dered him to also pay $1067.56 com­pen­sa­tion, a third of the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion cost.

“You should have ex­er­cised more com­mon sense,” Mr Hackett said.

“Lis­ten to the voice in your head next time that says that may not be a good idea. This has cost you $1900 for a bit of fun.”

A con­vic­tion was recorded.

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