A Sydney magistrate has thrown the book at a 21-year-old man who was at Sunday's riots in Cronulla, jailing him within hours of his arrest for carrying a tree branch as a weapon in the western suburb of Penrith. The swift justice happened because the man was charged with carrying an offensive weapon in a public place - a summary offence that is dealt with immediately, usually resulting in a fine. But in a rare case of imposing a prison term for such an offence, Penrith magistrate Ian McRae said "drastic punishment" was required, and sentenced the man to four months. He said the stiff penalty was needed as a deterrent for such extreme anti-social behaviour.
Police told the court the man had been arrested after midnight on Monday with two others, who were carrying iron bars. The men told police they had just come from Cronulla and claimed they had been harassed by a group of people of Middle Eastern appearance.
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