Crowbar threat leads to conviction

Man tips over edge on refund

A MAN used a crowbar to threaten staff at a tip after discovering he could not get a refund on a washing machine worth $50, a Bendigo court has heard.

Gregory Taylor, 53, of Newstead, faced Bendigo Magistrates Court on Wednesday to answer charges of assault with a weapon and failure to correctly store a firearm.

Prosecutor Marwan El-Asmar said Taylor's wife, with whom he was separated, bought a washing machine for $50 from Carisbrook Transfer Station in March 2014. Taylor's wife called him when the washing machine broke after its third use and he offered to take it back to the tip.

Taylor went to the transfer station about 10.30am on March 21 and spoke to a staff member about returning the faulty washing machine.

Mr El-Asmar told the court Taylor asked for a refund and turned aggressive when told to discard the machine on the scrap heap because there was no refund policy.

He said Taylor returned to the utility and armed himself with a crowbar before making threatening remarks about what would happen if he didn’t get his money back.

Your client is not an unintelligent man. - Magistrate Tregent

Unable to calm Taylor with an offer of another item worth the same amount, the staff member gave Taylor $50 and told him not to come back. Two staff members at the transfer station told police they were in fear of Taylor because of the incident.

After a police investigation was launched into the tip incident, Taylor came forward and admitted to being the offender.

He said the crowbar was to "force open the washing machine’s door".

In a search of Taylor's home for the crowbar, police also seized a double barrel shotgun from a bedroom wardrobe. 

Defence lawyer Luke Docherty said Taylor was not aware he was not allowed to return the washing machine.

But Magistrate Jennifer Tregent said it should have come as no great surprise.

"You’re not getting brand new goods, you’re buying from a tip," she said.

"Your client is not an unintelligent man, if you buy a washing machine from a tip for $50, what do you expect?"

Magistrate Tregent criticised Taylor for his failure to store the shot gun properly, saying the gun could easily have been stolen and entered the underground network of firearms. She said it was "too prevalent" that people in country areas were "too lazy to store them properly".

"There are strict rules about what you have to do," she said.

Taylor was convicted on both charges, fined $1000 and ordered he compensate the transfer station $50.

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