A 28-year-old New Zealander has avoided jail time after he flooded his Queensland tourism accom in an effort to get a sex worker to leave – because she failed to match her online description.
Christopher Foley was in town for the Gold Coast 600 supercars event when he met the woman and the pair “engaged in some adult services” before Foley became “frustrated”, Southport Magistrates Court heard on Monday.
CCTV footage captured Foley deliberately setting off the sixth-floor fire sprinkler system at the Victoria Square Apartments in Broadbeach around 1.45am on Saturday night, in what he claimed was a desperate attempt to get the sex worker to leave.
He reportedly tried to get a refund as she “was not as per the description”.
The sprinkler system activated, flooding a common room area and apartment entries on level six and forcing residents and guests to evacuate as police, fire crews and paramedics rushed to the scene, the court heard.
After checking security footage, police arrested Foley on nearby Surf Parade at 3am.
The Kiwi refused to be interviewed by officers, but said he was a “resident of New Zealand visiting the Gold Coast for car racing”.
His lawyer, Bettina Webb, told the court that the sex worker “was not as per the description” and “after trying to get his payment back” Foley set off the alarm to get her to leave.
She said the structural draftsman, who has no criminal history, was “severely intoxicated” and had displayed “some very silly behaviour”.
The cost of the episode has yet to be fully calculated, with police prosecutor Senior Constable Jack Mulherin telling the court: “It’s caused all three emergency services to be deployed, flooded the common room, all because the defendant was, I assume, intoxicated and frustrated.”
Foley pleaded guilty to wilful damage and unlawfully interfering with an apparatus to be used in the event of fire.
Magistrate Catherine Pirie said the damage caused to the apartments was “quite significant” and ruled out Foley’s intoxication as a legitimate excuse.
He was penalised $1,500 and warned he would likely face significant extra costs relating to damages and fees.