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The aquarium fish that sent two men to jail

A DISPUTE over an aquarium fish has landed two men behind bars.

Rhys Joseph Ash and Ben Julian Rousu, both 23, visited the home of a Tara teenager on the night of April 16 in search of an oscar fish.

When the 17-year-old asked the two to leave, Rousu removed the fly screen and slid open the window while Ash opened the front door.

Ash and Rousu confronted the teenager in the kitchen and threw several punches.

The pair told the victim, who suffered swelling to the nose and forehead, to find the fish, or they would be back.

The teenager did not have the fish in his possession.

Ash and Rousu pleaded guilty to burglary in company and assault occasioning bodily harm in company when they appeared in Dalby District Court on Friday.

Crown prosecutor Jessica Goldie said the home invasion was serious, despite it being over a "somewhat trivial" matter.

Defence barrister John Bailey said the victim suffered minor injuries from the assault.

"The injuries… they barely make bodily harm," Mr Bailey said.

Mr Bailey said his two clients visited the house solely to retrieve the fish, but "flipped out" when they saw the teenager holding a knife through the window.

He said the fish had been promised to the two men by another person moving from Tara.

"It's childish quite frankly," he said.

Judge Brendan Butler said there was no suggestion the pair had been threatened with the knife.

He said none of the surrounding circumstances justified invading the teenager's home.

Judge Butler sentenced Ash and Rousu to a total 18 months in prison each.

They will be released on parole in five months on March 23.

Oscar facts

  • The oscar fish is a tropical cichlid native to South America
  • The scientific name for these species is the Astronotus ocellatus and they can grow up to 40cm in length and weigh more than 1.5kg

Topics:  crime, dalby magistrates court, editors picks, jail, offbeat, police


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