Parkes Local Court | Parkes man fined for inciting P plater to do burnout

Magistrate Fiona McCarron has told a Parkes man that his behaviour was immature and dangerous after she found him guilty of inciting a P plater to do a burnout in a residential area.

Christopher Lee Ratcliff (29) of Cecile Street, Parkes, was before Parkes Local Court on Monday, February 3, charged with Urge etc view etc activity contrary subsection (1) - first offence at Parkes on November 6, 2019.

According to police facts tendered in court on Wednesday, November 6, a person under the age of 18 attended Ratcliff's house and the two had a conversation about the car the young person was driving.

The vehicle, a white Ford Falcon sedan, is owned by the young person's older brother.

As the young person went to drive away from Ratcliff's house he urged the young person to do a burnout.

He yelled out to the young person "You can't even do a skid" along with some profanities".

The young person then accelerated, causing loss of traction to both rear drive wheels resulting in plumes of white smoke and squealing noises.

Ratcliff yelled out to the young person "Is that it? Is that it? Is that it?", urging him to keep going. The young person drove off.

Ratcliff filmed the burnout and publicly shared the video file to the mobile phone application Snapchat.

A recording of this incident was forwarded to a Central West Highway Patrol officer in Parkes.

Police investigated the involvement of the young person and dealt with him by way of traffic infringement for 'operate vehicle to cause driving wheels to undergo sustained loss of traction'.

As a result of the investigation Ratcliff was identified as the person heard in the recording urging the young person to do the burnout.

Police attended Ratcliff's home and spoke to him.

At first he denied his involvement, but then admitted to making the comments to the driver and making the recording.

He said he did urge the young person but did not believe the young person would do it.

He also said he put the video on Snapchat because the young person had asked him not to.

Police explained to Ratcliff that it is an offence to urge a driver to participate in such an activity.

Representing himself, Ratcliff entered a plea of guilty.

"It's pretty immature behaviour isn't it?" Magistrate McCarron asked him.

"Particularly when the person you have been charged with inciting is under 18.

"Not only is it immature but you pose a direct danger to the community.

"You encouraged them to do it - a vulnerable young person who is most likely to show off in front of an older person.

"If that young person had lost control of the car at a time when a young child was in the street who knows what could have happened.

"Just keep that in mind Mr Ratcliff.

"I will impose a fine of $800 to reflect the seriousness and to send a message to the community that this is just not on."


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