A couple jailed for attacking their daughter's alleged bully in the car park of Warrawong High School walked free yesterday after having their sentences slashed.
The duo, who cannot be named, both received six-month jail terms in early February after pleading guilty to assaulting a 15-year-old girl and her younger brother at the start of the 2011 school year.
However, during an appeal hearing in Wollongong District Court yesterday, Judge Paul Conlon found the offences did not warrant jail terms given the circumstances surrounding the case.
He said while the court never condoned people taking matters into their owns hands, he accepted there were ongoing issues between the couple's daughter and the female victim.
"The appellants' daughter took issue with what the victim had put on Facebook . . . that led no doubt to bullying taking place in the school," he said.
"I'm satisfied this [incident] occurred as a result of one of the horrible factors of modern day life - children in schools who use the internet, in particular Facebook, as a method by which they can intimidate, shame and bully other people.
"[This case] had a start in precisely that area."
The court heard the parents had repeatedly approached the school about the alleged bullying but believed the issue had not been addressed.
On the morning of the assault, the couple again tried to speak with school officials but were asked to leave after the discussion became heated.
That afternoon, the woman arrived at school to pick up her daughter and got involved in a confrontation with the victim, during which she grabbed the girl's hair and assaulted her.
When the girl's younger brother ran to help his sister, the woman punched him, splitting his lip.
Her de facto husband, who had been watching the fight, quickly ran and pulled her partner off the girl before grabbing the teen by the hair and pulling her away too.
Judge Conlon said the female victim could hardly be described as a "shrinking violet", saying after the initial assault the girl called the older woman "a f---ing slut", restarting the altercation.
He said while the father had a lengthy criminal record, he believed the incident should be treated as an isolated one and placed the couple's actions at the lower end of the scale.
He revoked their jail terms, ordering the man to enter a six-month good behaviour bond and the woman a 12-month bond.