Caleb Vanderkroft
Caleb Vanderkroft

COURT: Man drives car on footpath, punches kid in the face

AFTER driving at a 16-year-old student to "scare" him, Caleb John Vanderkroft punched the teenager in the face and drove off in front of the students of Tara Shire State School.

Police prosecutor sergeant Derek Brady told the court that on September 18 police were called to Tara Shire State School at 8.30am.

Initial information revealed witnesses had seen a grey vehicle had driven onto the footpath near the school, and began driving at the witnesses.

Witnesses told police they saw Vanderkroft, 22, leave the car and approach the victim, a 16-year-old.

They became involved in a physical confrontation, after the victim punched Vanderkroft in the face, to which he responded by punching the victim in the face.

People watching the incident then stood between them to break up the fight, and Vanderkroft drove away shortly after.

Sergeant Brady said due to the time the incident happened and the proximity to the school, it was registered as a public nuisance offence.

At 2.30pm, police attended Vanderkroft's address and arrested him.

Vanderkroft told police the victim had thrown a rock at his car, which sparked the confrontation.

He told police the victim had "gotten in his face" and had punched him.

He initially denied driving at witnesses and the victim, however shortly after he did say he "went off the road a little bit".

This was challenged in the witnesses statements, and he eventually admitted to driving at the victim just to "scare" him and that he "didn't intend to hurt anyone".

Duty lawyer Clare Graham told the court Vanderkroft was seeking professional help from a psychologist.

Ms Graham told the court that her client "was a person who has issues with monitoring his responses to some situations", and said he was "picked on" at school.

Ms Graham said Vanderkroft had good support from his family, as his parents sat at the back of the courtroom in support of their son.

Magistrate Tracy Mossop told the defendant that she should be considering a sentence of imprisonment, given his history of violence.

She told Vanderkroft his diagnoses did explain his behaviour to an extent.

"But that doesn't mean that you don't know right from wrong," she said.

"Mark my words, if I see you again … we need to start looking at a different sentence.

Vanderkroft pleaded guilty to public nuisance and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

He was fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for six months for the driving offence, and was convicted but not further punished for the public nuisance offence.

Convictions were not recorded.

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