AN incident that evoked fears of a vehicle attack on pedestrians at Clarkson train station was not as bad as it initially sounded, according to a magistrate, despite the driver telling police he was making a political statement.
The driver of the car James Malou Marier Makoi faced Joondalup Magistrates Court, assisted by an interpreter, on Friday after pleading guilty to dangerous driving and assaulting a public officer.
Magistrate Andrew Maughan said he had initially considered a prison term but after viewing CCTV footage opted for an eight-month community based order.
The court heard Makoi was parked in a no parking zone at the Clarkson station on May 11.
Makoi defied a transit guard’s orders to move his car and slowly drove at the guard, who moved out of the way.
The police prosecutor said Makoi then forced the car through bollards into an area where there were pedestrians.
He damaged the side of the car while doing so.
He continued driving and left the scene.
Duty lawyer Andrew Parker submitted that Makoi had mental health problems, which he was now addressing, and asked for a spent conviction.
The police prosecutor admitted the incident was not as bad it sounded on paper but pushed for a suspended prison term and opposed a spent conviction given he drove a car at a transit officer.
Mr Maughan acknowledged Makoi’s fragile mental state and was content the incident was not as serious as the statement of facts might suggest.
He was “satisified” the offender had no intention to harm pedestrians when he drove through the bollards.
But he emphasised that Makoi’s actions would have been scary.
“Having regard to recent incidents in Paris, London and Melbourne where motor vehicles have been used for deadly effect, it’s not a long bow to draw that these pedestrians would have been very concerned at your conduct, if not frightened,” he said.
Mr Maughan told Makoi he had behaved aggressively towards a guard who was doing his job.
He reminded him of the dangers of an angry mindset behind the wheel.
“Your lack of control of the vehicle is evidenced by the fact that in the course of that driving your own vehicle was damaged,” he said.
Mr Maughan was aware that Makoi had told police his actions towards the guard were spurred on by a “political statement”, but he was confused as to what that meant.
“I do not know what that statement was, but even if you were making a political statement, this is an entirely inappropriate way to go about it,” he said.
Makoi, who had previously worked as a security guard in Kalgoorlie, was unemployed.
Mr Maughan did not suspend his driver’s licence.
“I had considered taking your licence off you,” he said.
“I have decided not to because I understand that holding your licence may be important to you obtaining work,” he said.
He was granted a spent conviction.