A man who drunkenly threatened to kill Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan while his wife and children hid in their childhood home has avoided spending more time behind bars.
Most important points:
- Gavin Higgs Was Arrested After Threatening To Kill Mark McGowan
- Higgs was drunk when he shouted the threat in front of Mr McGowan’s house huis
- His lawyer said Higgs was “extremely remorseful” and meant it as a joke
Gavin Michael Higgs, 33, pleaded guilty in Rockingham Magistrates Court to a charge of disorderly conduct following the incident outside Mr McGowan’s home in Rockingham on April 21.
Higgs, who appeared in court via video link from Hakea Prison, was originally charged with the more serious felony of threatening murder, but today that charge was dropped after the police officer said the case had been investigated by an internal police panel.
The court was told Higgs was under the influence of alcohol when he stopped outside the gate of McGowan’s home at around 8:30 p.m. and yelled “f..k you Mark McGowan.”
“I’m going to kill you, Mark. You haven’t done anything for me,” he added.
Higgs then walked away still yelling obscenities.
He was arrested a short time later and apologized in an interview with the police for what he had done.
‘Intended as a joke’: lawyer
The attorney on duty representing Higgs today said he had made no attempt to enter McGowan’s property and had walked out of his own free will.
She said he was extremely remorseful and appreciated the effect his actions had on his victims, describing the crime as “a drunken mistake”.
“It was meant as a joke,” she says.
The lawyer said alcohol was “a major problem” for Higgs, who had been in custody for five and a half weeks.
The court was told that while Higgs was out on bail, he had been remanded to custody a few days ago for violating his curfew to visit his terminally ill father, who had since passed away.
Magistrate Joanne Andretich said Higgs’ actions would have caused significant fear among the victims, but she noted that he had not committed any offenses since 2016.
She also took into account the time Higgs spent in custody to decide a 12-month community-based order was appropriate.
It will include conditions that Higgs undergo any treatment or counseling directed by his supervising officer, including any appropriate treatment for alcohol abuse.
After one of Higgs’ first court hearings, Mr. McGowan released a statement stating that his wife and three children were home at the time.
“I would like to thank the WA Police Department for their prompt response.”
The magistrate issued a restraining order forbidding Higgs from having contact with — or coming within 50 yards of — Mr McGowan and his wife.
Higgs is also not allowed to own firearms.
The restraining orders will be in effect for five years from today.
Higgs has also been sentenced to 40 hours of community service.