Man guilty of sexual assault

A HERVEY Bay man who sexually assaulted an ex-co-worker almost 15 years his junior fronted court yesterday.

Brad Leonard Murray pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault.

The court heard the 31-year-old was in Rockhampton for a friend’s wedding in March this year when he visited an old pizza store he had previously worked at.

Once inside Murray, who was “heavily intoxicated” at the time, sexually assaulted and made lewd comments to a 16-year-old cashier he had worked with in 2009.

The teenage girl complained to management and the police were contacted.

Crown Prosecutor Chris Kershaw said that while Murray’s behaviour may not have been predatory, his punishment should still reflect the community’s intolerance of any form of sexual assault.

He said the victim had undergone counselling as a result and had recently admitted that while she went through a “tough time” following the assault, she had been comforted by the fact that Murray had pleaded guilty.

He also said that while the victim was not a child, an adult who commits an offence against a young person must expect to serve some form of imprisonment unless the case was exceptional.

Defence lawyer John Milburn argued the circumstances were just that.

He said Murray had received a brain injury during a motorcycle accident in 2003 and had been forced to give up studies at universities due to his inability to concentrate.

He also said Murray had become a “recluse” following the accident and had little contact with girls resulting in an “element of sexual frustration”.

He described Murray’s behaviour as an act of “buffoonery” but said it had not been pre-meditated.

He also explained that the medication Murray had been prescribed and was still on did not mix well with alcohol.

He said Murray had told him that it wasn’t his usual practice to drink a lot as he knew it had a negative affect on him but that on the day in question he had consumed an “excessive amount”.

Mr Milburn also handed a copy of a psychological report up to the court.

Judge Hugh Botting said he took into account Murray’s condition and said that while it in no way excused his behaviour, he did not believe he was likely to re-offend.

He ordered Murray to serve 12 months’ probation.

A conviction was not recorded.

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