Cnr Duke/Mary/Channon Streets, where the incident occurred.
Cnr Duke/Mary/Channon Streets, where the incident occurred.

Gardener fined for trying to charge phone on traffic light

A GARDENER'S search to charge his mobile phone has cost him nearly $3500.

Zeke Harley Butcher, 28, of Sunrise Beach was seen "pulling vigorously at the access door to the traffic light control box" on the corner of Channon and Duke Streets on February 4, just before 8pm.

Butcher pleaded guilty to wilful damage and trespass when he faced Gympie Magistrates Court this week.

Witnesses saw Butcher "rummage around" inside the control box before the traffic lights suddenly stopped working.

He was seen kicking another control box in front of the telephone exchange building before he started to approach them so they drove away, the court heard.

Police arrived at the intersection about 8pm, saw the traffic lights malfunctioning and, while investigating, were approached by the witnesses.

Butcher was found in the nearby fenced yard of the telephone exchange and arrested.

His lawyer said that prior to these offences Butcher had suffered a "psychiatric episode" and been taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Picture: LUKE BOWDEN
Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

His lawyer said he fled the ambulance in a "disorganised state" and "got lost and was searching for a point from which to charge his phone".

Butcher's lawyer also tended medical documents stating he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

Magistrate Chris Callaghan said, "I can see you have suffered some sort of mental episode on the evening.

"The clinical documents are all in support of that."

Butcher was fined $1000 and ordered to pay $2356.72 in restitution to the Department of Transport for repairs to the traffic lights. There was no conviction recorded.

If you or someone you know suffers from PTSD, help is available at Black Dog Institute

or Beyond Blue.

Gympie Times

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