Vig­i­lantes avoid time in prison

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - AM­BER WIL­SON

TWO vig­i­lante at­tack­ers have avoided jail after un­leash­ing an “ap­palling” beat­ing on a Glenorchy man they be­lieved had com­mit­ted a sex crime.

When po­lice found the vic­tim in April 2017, blood was trick­ling from his mouth and his false teeth were on the ground, the Supreme Court of Tas­ma­nia heard yes­ter­day.

The vic­tim had tried to de­fend him­self with a ham­mer, but was left beaten, his head stomped and more than two years later still has a weak right arm, can­not pick up items with his left hand, and can­not wear his lower den­tures be­cause of dam­age to his lower jaw.

His pre-ex­ist­ing heart con­di­tion also wors­ened as a re­sult of the at­tack. Armed with a tom­a­hawk, Jhye John Webb, 35, led a group of four other men to the vic­tim’s house after a woman said she had been in­de­cently as­saulted, with one of the group bran­dish­ing a metal im­ple­ment.

Joshua Phillip John King, 37, was one of the group that car­ried out the “or­ches­trated at­tack”, forc­ing their way into the vic­tim’s house, drag­ging him out and beat­ing him. Act­ing Jus­tice David Porter said another man had since been charged with in­de­cently as­sault­ing the woman, but he had pleaded not guilty and was un­der­go­ing court pro­ceed­ings.

“This was an episode of vig­i­lante jus­tice and is to be con­demned,” he said.

Webb pleaded guilty to ag­gra­vated bur­glary, wound­ing and as­sault, just be­fore his trial was due to be­gin, while King was found guilty of the same charges by a jury.

Act­ing Jus­tice Porter sen­tenced Webb to a sus­pended 15-month jail sen­tence and an 18-month home de­ten­tion or­der with a com­mu­nity cor­rec­tion or­der of one year. King re­ceived a 15-month home de­ten­tion or­der and an 18-month com­mu­nity cor­rec­tion or­der.

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