One of Australia's best bull riders has narrowly avoided jail in the Northern Territory after his involvement in a vigilante attack on another man he wrongly believed owed money.
Cody James Tapp and Joel David Glyn Mellor went to the NT home of Jacob Dickson in February last year to dish out what Chief Justice Michael Grant described as "the prosecution of vigilante debt-collecting activity".
The men had no personal connection to him but wrongly believed that he owed Mellor's ex-partner and her brother money.
That was part of a convoluted arrangement in which he had taken over their residential lease and would either pay them for furniture left behind or clean up and return their bond.
That was untrue, Justice Grant said, as the property had been left in a poor state and the bond was forfeited.
Mellor and Tapp went to the property and broke open a door.
Mellor stole the man's phone and assaulted him and Tapp stole his motorcycle.
Tapp, 34, has an impressive record in rodeo including winning an Australian championship in 2001.
He also has a criminal history in the NT and Queensland including numerous traffic offences going back 15 years and was jailed last October.
That was for multiple counts of driving while disqualified and crossing double lines, not stopping after an accident, and driving in a manner dangerous and follow a long record of offences including drink driving.
"He has demonstrated a continuing course of disobedience to the law over an extended period of time now," Justice Grant said.
The men "had no entitlement or authority to take the law into their own hands" by breaking into a home and enforcing payment, he said.
Tapp received a six-month prison sentence that was suspended after pleading guilty to stealing and driving while disqualified, unregistered and uninsured.
He must also work at the Big River cattle station, where he has family connections.
Mellor received a two-year jail term, also suspended, for charges of assault, stealing, criminal damage and unlawful entry.