Dad appeals for mercy



A GRAFTON father prayed to the Grafton Local Court yesterday and asked that he be punished instead of his son for his transgressions on the Clarence River.

Wayne Whitney senior, who wore white robes while representing his son, told the court he should be punished because he had asked his son, Wayne Anthony Whitney, to take a group of youths to the river to use a personal water craft (jet ski).

Wayne Anthony Whitney was in court to appeal the severity of fines he received from NSW Maritime for; obstructing an officer in the exercise of his duty, being an unlicensed driver of a personalised water craft, using a fast personalised water craft near a structure and being the master of an unregistered vessel.

Mr Whitney senior told the court his son had lived with a drug addict father until he 'turned his life around' nine years ago and became a Christian.

He said his son had also become a Christian and had turned his life around in the past two years.

Mr Whitney senior said he had asked his son to take a group of youths to the river for experience on a jet ski.

"They (the participating youths) were having such fun," he said.

"I saw it as great thing to get kids off the street. I did not think of the unregistered matter.

"Fine me personally. I deserve the fine."

Mr Whitney said the Clarence River was not Bondi and there was substantially less water traffic on the river.

Magistrate, Kim Pogson, said there was no point taking youths off the street just to put them on the water to commit crimes.

He said he was happy for Mr Whitney senior to pay the fines on behalf of his son, but would not transfer the penalties.

"You may have let him go to the water, but it is up to him whether he drinks correctly," he said.

On each charge Mr Pogson reduced the fines to $300 with $65 court costs and was ordered to pay professional costs of $1000.



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