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PHOTO. Warren Keith Watts.

by VICTOR. Monday, Apr. 29, 2002 at 11:37 PM



By VICTOR. 4:43pm Sat Apr 27 '02 (Modified on 5:54pm Sat Apr 27 '02)

In trouble, then Judge Robert Hall may be your man.

SOUTHPORT District Court Judge Robert Hall has lampooned elderly Volvo and Kingswood drivers while sentencing a road-rage motorist for breaking an old man’s jaw.

Former jockey Warren Keith Watts, 33, slugged the 80-year-old after the pair swapped insults and finger gestures along Oxley Drive, Runaway Bay.

The elderly man threw the first punch during the intense argument that erupted after both men pulled over in a cul-de-sac. Watts was sentenced to 150 hours community service yesterday after pleading guilty in the Southport District Court to causing actual bodily harm to NSW tourist Ronald Jones in July last year.

During the sentencing Judge Robert Hall admitted he was still ‘young enough to be annoyed by Volvo and Kingswood drivers wearing hats’ but told the 55 kg Watts he had ‘gone too far’. Judge Hall drives a government-supplied Ford Fairmont Ghia.

“You were uncontrolled and acted like someone who doesn’t have a grandfather, or doesn’t love him enough,” said Judge Hall. “You’re a typical young person, impatient with elderly drivers, causing conflicts daily on roads.

“Many drivers think they are better than they are, and more experienced drivers are aware of the dangers.” The road rage began as Watts followed Mr. Jones along Oxley Drive, tooting at the veteran driver. Yelling and finger gesturing continued after both men drove into a cul-de-sac.

The pair got out of their cars and had a face-to-face confrontation before Mr. Jones threw his punch. When Watts struck back, the 80-year-olds jaw was cracked. The court was told lack of teeth had weakened the elderly man’s jawbone.

“He had been without teeth for some time,” Crown prosecutor Carolyn Harrison told the court. “It was an over-reaction by the prisoner during an argument over a trivial matter.”

Watts told police he intended pulling into the cul-de-sac to visit a shop and was not following Mr. Jones. He said Mr. Jones had been weaving around the roadway and had been leaning into the back seat, looking for something while driving. Defence barrister Bernard Reilly said both the defendant and Watts had lacked judgement.

He said Watts had been so disturbed by his conduct that he enrolled in an anger management course. Judge Hall described Watts as being a ‘totally unsuitable person to be imprisoned’. “You can save the letters to the editor,” said Judge Hall. “The Bulletin reporter can save his ink now.”

“This defendant has shown genuine remorse, admitted his actions, has no relevant criminal history and the incident also has had an adverse impact on himself.” Judge Hall said the victim was a strong person who had been able to recover quickly, both physically and mentally.


By VICTOR. 4:07pm Fri Apr 26 '02

SHOULD GET FIVE YEARS A PIECE. thousand a year to keep each person in jail.


Charges follow road rage incident.

Two men face serious charges after a road rage incident in Northland overnight.

Acting Senior Sergeant Murray Stapp said the male driver and passenger of one car chased another car along State Highway 2 near Hikurangi, 15km north of Whangarei, forcing it to crash.

The two people in the crashed car were uninjured but were then assaulted and robbed. One of the victims was forced to give up his credit card and PIN numbers to his attackers.

Neither of the victims required medical treatment. Mr Stapp said that police later arrested two men in Whangarei.

They were charged with numerous offences including aggravated robbery, assault with a weapon and reckless driving and would appear in court next week.

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