Housemates appear in court

TWO housemates sat smirking in court yesterday, despite being in there for trying to wipe the smiles off each other’s faces.

The trouble started when John Robert Grills and Jacob Thomas Koczan, both 21, of Avenell Heights hopped out of a taxi at the corner of Sims and Auer Streets at about 4am on October 10, 2009.

“They began fighting when they got out of the vehicle for unknown reasons,” Police prosecutor Sergeant Robyn Shapcott said.

The “very intoxicated” pair were wrestling, yelling and swearing at each other and the taxi driver began sounding the horn in an attempt to make them stop.

The two housemates continued fighting, causing damage to the Toyota HiAce taxi’s panels.

They pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday, with Grills on one charge of wilful damage and Koczan on two charges of public nuisance, wilful damage and contravening a direction.

“Police attended their address and spoke to the defendants, who said they were very drunk and recalled slapping the taxi as the driver kept blaring the horn,” Sgt Shapcott said.

On January 16, 2010 about 10pm, the pair was involved in another altercation outside a Bundaberg pub.

They allegedly wanted to fight because of “personal differences” so they went outside to fight so they did not get banned from the establishment.

Defence barrister Nick Larter said the pair understood their actions were “silly”.

He said the pair both “took issue” with the cab driver using his horn.

“They slapped the taxi to demonstrate the driver should desist with the behaviour that was probably disturbing the whole neighbourhood,” Mr Larter said.

“They are both willing to pay restitution and both have acknowledged their behaviour was not the most appropriate.”

Grills pleaded guilty earlier to similar charges as Koczan, but had them dealt with at an earlier sitting.

Magistrate Jennifer Batts fined Grills $240 and Koczan $660 and ordered them to pay $375 each in restitution to the taxi driver.

“Hopefully these incidents will be put behind you now,” Ms Batts told the men.

“You have both got jobs and, one would hope, much more capacity than this behaviour suggests. I hope this is the last time you come before the courts.”

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