Brothers who laughed and filmed themselves destroying their late mother's home to ruin their sister's inheritance have copped massive fines for their conduct.
Malcolm and Garry Taylor's overreaction to their sister being named executor of their mother's will also cost them an inheritance, with the three siblings supposed to jointly share in the country Victorian home's sale proceeds.
The brothers, now aged 57 and 59, travelled from their Queensland home to Murtoa, near Horsham, in March 2019, just days before the property was due to go to auction.
It had previously sold for $99,000 but the sale fell through after the house suffered water damage and was to be auctioned with an expected price up to $75,000.
But on the eve of the auction the men hired an excavator and filmed themselves tearing down part of the home.
When someone called police, they told the local officer they were doing "renovations". Malcolm Taylor had earlier admitted removing the hot water service from the house.
Malcolm Taylor sent their sister a text saying "renovations have begun" while later that night at a footy match at the MCG Garry Taylor posted to social media that they were having a "few beers at the footy after a hard day's renovating".
"You were laughing while you destroyed your sister's inheritance. Now the world is laughing at you for your stupidity," County Court Judge Michael Cahill told them on Friday.
The brothers were each fined $10,000 after admitting charges of theft and criminal damage.
Brother 'genuinely remorseful' for actions
During a pre-sentence hearing the court heard Malcolm Taylor was genuinely remorseful for his actions that day.
But ahead of the sentencing prosecutors tried to squash that argument, pointing Judge Cahill to a media report in which Malcolm Taylor replied "absolutely not" when asked by a reporter if he regretted his actions.
Lawyer Mike Anderson, who appeared with both men by video link from Hervey Bay, instead said Malcolm Taylor had been harassed by the media over the incident, which was reported around the world.
"If Your Honour had any worry about the concept of deterrent, the media have done that," he said.
"There's no way these men will ever offend again."
The whole incident has been a costly affair for the brothers.
It was estimated the total loss to the estate was around $60,000 - a $20,000 loss each. They also agreed in May 2019 to pay their sister a "reasonable" amount to compensate her for her lost inheritance.
The men had tried to challenge their sister's appointment as executor of their mother's estate, because of her failure to pay legacies to their children.
Judge Cahill said they had agreed to co-operate with her after it was ordered the woman remain as executor after paying what was owed.
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