Housekeeper pleads guilty to ‘vicious, unprovoked’ attack
A 23-year-old Airlie Beach woman has narrowly avoided a prison sentence after teaming up with her sister in a "vicious, totally unprovoked" assault at a CBD taxi rank.
Asia Marie Otway faced Proserpine Magistrates Court this week, pleading guilty to charges of assaults occasioning bodily harm, commit public nuisance, and common assault, stemming from an incident near Magnums bar in November last year.
The court heard Otway attacked a woman lying down on a public bench waiting for a taxi about 12.50am on November 25, leaving her with multiple cuts and abrasions to her face.
Without warning, Otway grabbed the woman by the hair, pulled her off the bench, and punched her in the face.
Otway and her sister then pulled the victim to the ground, head first, and Otway continued to punch and kick the victim in the head and face.
Another woman attempted to intervene, only to herself become the target of Otway's kicking, pushing and verbal abuse, until Otway successfully chased her away, threatening to assault her further.
When police arrived and arrested Otway, she continued to swear and shout at members of the public as she was placed into the police vehicle.
Her solicitor Peta Vernon told the court it was "really out of character" behaviour for the young housekeeper, who she described as "shy" and mostly "keep[ing] to herself".
"She's had far too much to drink and actually has no memory of this offending," Ms Vernon said.
"She didn't know the victim, but something's happened that night.
"She's disgusted with herself and her behaviour."
The court heard Otway's sister had already been sentenced to 12 months' probation and ordered to pay the victim $500 compensation for her part in the assault, plus a $100 fine for committing public nuisance.
Magistrate Ron Muirhead, on assessing the submissions, determined Otway should receive a harsher sentence as the "main offender" in the incident.
He took some time to come to a decision, telling Otway "if a male person were in court with that sort of behaviour, the most likely outcome would be a term of imprisonment".
"It was totally unprovoked, with no warning given at all, and quite a vicious assault … on a person who was simply waiting for a taxi - that speaks for itself," he said.
But, taking into account Otway's young age and lack of criminal history, Mr Muirhead ultimately elected to impose an 18 month probation order, 120 hours of community service and a $1200 compensation order, instead.
"I think it might be unjust to ruin your life over one stupid mistake," he said.
"Any more behaviour like that, in my mind there's not a shadow of a doubt, the court will say 'that's it, this person's had once chance, she won't get another chance'."
A conviction was not recorded.
Originally published as Housekeeper pleads guilty to 'vicious, unprovoked' attack