Offender spent too long in prison, judge finds
A TOOWOOMBA man who had spent almost one year in pre-sentence custody had served more time behind bars than he would have been sentenced to, a judge has found.
Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC said it was unacceptable that a young man had been held in custody for almost one year while psychological reports were completed on him.
"On any version, this man has spent too long in jail," Judge Horneman-Wren said.
The 21-year-old had completed a previous sentence in jail but had spent 301 days in pre-sentence custody before appearing in Toowoomba District Court to plead guilty to indecent treatment of a child under 16.
Crown prosecutor Alisha Ballantyne told the court the then 19-year-old had been at Grand Central Shopping Centre on June 24, 2017, when he ran into another group of people including a 13-year-old girl.
Though he and the teenager were known to each other, they were not friends but had mutual friends, she said.
As the girl talked with friends, the defendant had walked up behind her and hugged her.
She and her friends had then gone outside but he had followed, sitting beside her and putting his arm around her.
When he had tried to touch her breasts, she had told him to stop but he had then tried to put his hand up her skirt three times.
Ms Ballantyne said the man had then straddled the 13-year-old and "humped her" as she described it before pushing her head down near his groin area.
When spoken to by police, the defendant had initially been given bail but that had later been revoked and he had been held in custody since, Ms Ballantyne said.
At the time the man was subject to two suspended sentences which were invoked.
The man had no similar offending in his history, she said.
Judge Horneman-Wren described the man's behaviour as "persistent, protracted and degrading" but acknowledged the time spent in custody.
To ensure the man had support in the community when released, Judge Horneman-Wren placed him on six months probation.