The parents of a bullied teenager in QLD took matters into their own hands and bashed the bully. The judge let the parents off with suspended jail sentences. Was the judge wrong to let them off so lightly?
Vigilante Baker parents bashed daughter's tormentor
A QUEENSLAND couple so fed up with their 14-year-old being bullied at school have narrowly avoided jail after bashing their daughter's tormentor.
Stephen Lester Baker and Suzane Maree Baker took justice into their own hands when they believed Queensland police and Beenleigh High School failed to act on their complaints about the bullying.
The Beenleigh District Court was told yesterday how the pair confronted their daughter's tormentor and repeatedly punched her in the head.
The court was told the Bakers' attack, which took place in a park on April 3, 2006, came after the parents notified the school and police over the repeated bashing and bullying of their daughter.
Prosecutor Nicholas McGhee said the Crown conceded the couple's daughter had been subjected to violent bullying by the girl identified only as Rachel, including an attack in which she bashed the girl's head against a school toilet wall.
But Mr McGhee said Baker, 44, and his wife, 41, had acted like disgraceful vigilantes by attacking their daughter's assailant rather than pursuing the matter through police.
He said the issue came to a head when Rachel and the Bakers' daughter became involved in an after school argument, which involved taunts and pushing.
After the incident in the park, the Bakers and their daughter drove around the area looking for Rachel and a group of her friends in a bid to resolve the bullying problem.
Mr McGhee said Stephen Baker punched Rachel in the head up to four times.
"(Baker told Rachel) 'no one hits my daughter'," Mr McGhee told the court. "(Baker) stated he would kill them if they touched her again."
Suzane Baker then grabbed Rachel by the hair and punched her in the head up to four times, he said.
Barrister Paul Brown, for Stephen Baker, said his client had become frustrated when neither the school or the police appeared to act on the family's complaints.
"Instead of putting (your daughter) in the car and looking for the bully, you should . . . (have been) driving to the police station," he told the Bakers.
"The 14-year-old (Rachel) could/may (still) be subjected to criminal offences (if reported to police)."
Judge Dearden also gave a forceful warning to both families to try to resolve their differences to avoid establishing a long-term feud between them.
Stephen and Suzane Baker were given wholly suspended jail terms of six and three months respectively.