A young man who swore near a Newtown kebab shop late on a Friday night has escaped without a fine, after a court ruled in his favour.
Alec Kitching, of Leichhardt, admits he was “cheeky” when asking a police officer if the Daily Telegraph he was reading while waiting for his meal was where he got his “intel”.
During the exchange, in March 2017, Alec also pointed out the police riot van was in a bus zone.
When police ordered him out of the premises, CCTV recordings showed him saying: “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve got my fucking feet on the ground.”
The carpenter – who never managed to even get the kebab he had ordered and paid for – was subsequently issued with a $500 fine for offensive language, which he appealed.
Magistrate Quinn of Newtown Local Court found that while Alec swore, it was not intended to offend: instead it was used as a normal part of his language.
In her ruling she said that while it is “disgraceful” that police are sworn at, “everyone in Newtown would be locked up” if swearing were taken more seriously.
Alec says it’s a relief not to have a criminal record for both future employment prospects and other opportunities.
“It was such a stressful process – and I would have lost around five days’ work through the court appearances,” he says. That work would have earned him more than $1500.
The 25-year-old initially represented himself before getting a lawyer through Marrickville Legal Centre’s Youth Legal Service – which would have meant he would have to have cross-examined four police officers.
“It made a world of different having someone to speak with and advise me in which direction to take the case,” he says.
Alec is now considering pursuing a career in law.
Anyone in NSW who is 25 or under – or a guardian – can get free legal advice through the Youth Legal Service, based at Marrickville Legal Centre. The Centre can be reached on 9559 2899.