Students at the centre of “Pano-gate” break their silence.

Students at the centre of “Pano-gate” break their silence.

14 October, 2014. 13:21

ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | errol@betootaadvocate.com

TALES OF love and redemption are emerging from the “Mitchell Seven”, who stand accused of defacing Australia’s most iconic motorsport monument.

The group is expected to plead guilty at their first hearing.

Lawyers for the seven men have asked that they be charged under the Summary Offences Act 1988, which include offensive language and damaging or desecrating protected places.

These convictions rarely result in a custodial sentence for first time offenders.

The “Mitchell Seven” have been charged with criminal malicious damage and criminal vandalism.

Despite a court order, the young men facing trial for their “prank-gone-wrong” have agreed to speak out, provided their names are withheld.

“It wasn’t like we planned it out. It just kind of happened,” says one of the accused.

“The southern half of the university backs on to Mount Panorama,”

“You can pretty much see it anywhere on campus,” says a defendant.

However, it’s been revealed by one of the accused that the vandalism wasn’t necessarily a prank, but an act of revenge plotted by one broken-hearted student, who has been charged by police as the instigator.

“We started drinking around lunchtime before we ended up at uni bar that night,”

“It’s not out of the ordinary for us to do that but John [name changed] had just broken up with Lucy [name changed], his girlfriend,” says one defendant.

“Like any good bunch of mates, we gathered around John and drank with him all afternoon and well in to the night,”

“It was a group decision that’d we’d try to get some pingas [sic] and power on,”

That’s were the facts begin to thin out.

Somewhere between the hours of 2am and 4am, the seven men at the centre of the controversy began their ascent of Mount Panorama.

“I remember being turfed out of Uni Bar but after that it gets a little hazy,” says one of the accused.

“Around that time, John told us about the idea and we all agreed that we’d help him get it done,”

In the week leading up to the Bathurst 1000, staff at the mountain were busy preparing the race track for the weekend.

“They’d slashed the grass right down,” says a defendant.

“Mounds of grass clippings were everywhere so it wasn’t that hard to find something to cover up the lettering,”

In the dark of night, the men worked diligently to cover the “M” and part of the “O” to create a word so frequently said but never seen in the Australian vernacular.

“The fact that the big race was on didn’t matter to us,” says one of the accused.

“We didn’t mean for it to get the attention it did,”

“Anybody who went to CSU knows that Race Week is both annoying and inconvenient,”

The one fact that remains clear is that the vandalised message atop Mount Panorama was meant for one person and one person only.

“Lucy’s dorm room has an uninterrupted view of Mount Panorama,” says John.

“I don’t think she knew it at the time, but that “giant c**t” on the side of the mountain was entirely directed at her,” says John.

“I had to let her know what I thought of her after she slept with half the league team,”

The reality of the situation is that the “Mitchell Seven” now face the prospect of being branded convicted criminal for the rest of their lives.

“I harbour a lot of guilt for dragging my mates in to this,” says John.

“But for what it’s worth, knowing that you’ve got a group of mates that’ll go to prison with you is very comforting,”

Lucy was approached for comment by The Advocate but requests were not answered at this time.

The “Mitchell Seven” are to appear at a preliminary hearing this week, were if they plead not guilty, a trial is to commence on November 7.

“We are getting advice on were we stand,” says a defendant.

“It’s not looking good,”

In a parting shot, John said regardless of what happens, his ex-girlfriend will have to live with everybody knowing that the message was for her.

“Hopefully, everybody who saw the news from the weekend will see this, too,” says John.

“Lucy, you’re a c**t.”