Michael Ngerengere avoids more time behind bars after assaulting man he thought was a paedophile | The Canberra Times



news, crime, Michael Ngerengere

A Canberra father on “a mission” to protect children against predators has avoided spending more time behind bars, after he assaulted a man he thought was a paedophile. An ACT Supreme Court judgment said Michael Ngerengere, 48, approached a man who was sitting on a bench outside the City Labor Club on December 12 last year and accused him of being a paedophile. The judgment said Ngerengere yanked the man’s beanie off his head and slapped him in the face. The 48-year-old later told police: “All I did was take the beanie off a pest and stomped it on the ground.” Last week, Justice Michael Elkaim said Ngerengere seemed to have adopted a mission to protect children against people he deemed predators. He said that, when Ngerengere was arrested for the attack, police found the 48-year-old in possession of a bag of 0.92 grams of methylamphetamine. Ngerengere later pleaded guilty to one count of common assault, and one count of possessing a drug of dependence. Justice Elkaim said the New Zealand expatriate had a significant criminal record, with convictions amassed across the ACT, NSW, Victoria and the Northern Territory. He said Ngerengere had a traumatic childhood, was one of five children, and now had four of his own. “Unfortunately one of his sons seems to have followed in his footsteps and is currently residing at the Alexander Maconochie Centre,” Justice Elkaim said. The judge said Ngerengere had a limited education, having been expelled from school after year 5, and also had mental health issues that meant he had been on the disability support pension for more than 15 years. “He apparently once worked in the construction industry and in an abattoir,” Justice Elkaim said. He said if it weren’t for Ngerengere’s criminal record, “a figurative slap on the wrist might have been appropriate”. The judge sentenced Ngerengere to a total four months in prison, which he suspended immediately upon the father agreeing to comply with a 12-month good behaviour order. The 48-year-old spent seven days in jail for the common assault and drug possession charges.

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