Teenager scolded by magistrate after courtroom high-five
A GLADSTONE teen has been left-red faced after being pulled up by a magistrate for high-fiving his mate at the back of the courtroom.
Zack Allan Ballandis, 19, appeared before Gladstone Magistrates Court yesterday to plead guilty to four drug-related charges stemming from a small amount of cannabis and cannabis plants found by police when they executed a search warrant at his friend's home on July 7.
Police prosecutor Barry Stevens told the court Ballandis had admitted to police the drugs were his, and had told them he smoked cannabis to ease his anxiety.
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Ms Ho sentenced Ballandis to drug diversion and a fine of $500, with no conviction recorded to avoid negatively affecting his employment prospects.
But as he left the court room, a friend in the gallery did something which crossed a line for the normally unflappable magistrate.
"Mr Ballandis? Come here," Ms Ho said sternly, ordering him back into the courtroom.
"This is not a social gathering where we have a cheer squad watching what we do, and we don't high-five at the back of the court," she said.
"It is serious. I could have sent you to jail. Do you understand?"
Ms Ho gestured toward the door behind the dock at the side of the room.
"See that? Through that door they go to jail," she said.
"So I expect respect if I ever see you again. And I hope not to, because I've given you the talk about what happens."
Ms Ho then told the next defendant to "relax" as a subdued Ballandis and his friend shuffled out of the courtroom.