‘How does this happen?’ Judge queries charge
A QUEENSLAND judge has expressed concern after an innocuous push on the bottom ended in a court date for a teenager.
The 18-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of common assault at Southport District Court today in relation to the 2017 incident at a popular Gold Coast swimming hole.
The court heard the woman and another teenaged girl, who were living under the care of the Department of Child Safety, were part of a group on a day trip.
When the younger girl showed hesitation to go through a waterfall, the woman offered to help her through and pushed her on the bottom.
During the push, the woman's hand slipped and accidentally brushed the younger girl's genitals.
Judge Catherine Muir said she was "very uncomfortable" dealing with the matter and she was at a loss to understand how it had to got to the point of the woman having to plead guilty.
"How does this happen? Aren't these things thought through?" Judge Muir said.
"The circumstances of this case are at the very lower end of a charge of common assault.
"It concerns me and doesn't give me any pleasure that I have to sentence you for this offence."
The court heard the woman immediately apologised but a complaint was later lodged and the woman charged with serious sexual offences, which were subsequently withdrawn.
The teen spent 33 days in custody including two weeks at the Southport Watchhouse and time in the general population of a male prison before being granted bail.
Judge Muir bristled at a submission by prosecutor James Bishop that the woman be handed an additional month to a current probation order from an unrelated offence.
"Is that a serious submission in this case?" she asked.
"She spent 33 days in remand. Why would I extend the probation for a period of one month?" Mr Bishop subsequently withdrew his submission.
Defence barrister Claire Boothman described her client's time as a 17-year-old transgender woman in a male prison as "horrendous".
The teenager was released absolutely and no conviction was recorded.