Lions star escapes conviction
Brisbane Lions midfielder Lewis Taylor told Warrnambool Magistrates Court he and a mate thought they were in a junkyard when they smashed eight vehicles at a car dealership in country Victoria 14 months ago.
Taylor and childhood friend Geordie Scott Erwin, 20, escaped conviction after they pleaded guilty to charges of criminal damage and theft.
Under the state's diversion program, defendants can avoid a criminal record if they admit to their offences.
The court heard the pair entered the car yard in Mortlake, 220km west of Melbourne, just after 10pm on October 22 last year to find a seatbelt buckle. They returned a short time later and began using the buckle, as well as rocks and poles, to smash windows of five trucks, one ute and two cars.
The court was also told Taylor and Erwin thought they were in a junkyard and not damaging valued property.
The car yard was next door to a scrap-metal yard.
The pair will avoid a criminal conviction if they are of good behaviour for 12 months, both donate $500 to the State Emergency Service and each pay more than $5000 in compensation.
Taylor, who hails from Mort
lake, provided references from Lions coach Justin Leppitsch, his manager and former headmaster.
The offences occurred just weeks after the 20-year-old won the AFL's Rising Star award for the 2014 season.
- APN SPORTS BUREAU