A SEMI-professional footballer charged with one count of committing an indecent act with a child under 16 has been granted bail, with the magistrate warning the public against jumping to conclusions.
Shepparton Magistrates Court heard late yesterday Barooga Football Club had dumped Samuel Boxsell, 24, after it was alleged he followed a mother and daughter in a Cobram supermarket on Monday and indecently touched the girl, 7.
Mr Boxsell, who represented himself during a bail application yesterday, denied the charge.
Police prosecutor Sgt Les Oroszvary said his job and accommodation, which were part of the football deal, had also vanished overnight.
“The job arranged for him as part of the contract with the club no longer exists,” he said.
Lawyer Natalie Purcell told the court that Mr Boxsell’s mother, who lives in Queensland, was concerned for his welfare because of threats posted on his Facebook page since he was charged on Tuesday night.
Magistrate John O’Callaghan spoke out against the social media commentary.
“I’d simply remind people that all accused are innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
“I’d urge people to refrain from ill-advised and ill-informed commentary until the courts have dealt with the matter.”
Sgt Oroszvary said police opposed bail on the basis Mr Boxsell was a flight risk.
A warrant had been issued for Mr Boxsell in Tasmania, where police are seeking to interview him in connection with alleged offences in 2008.
Sgt Oroszvary said Queensland police were also seeking to question Mr Boxsell over an alleged assault on a man earlier this year.
He said the police concern was Mr Boxsell no longer had any reason to remain in the area.
Mr O’Callaghan said in contrast to social media commentary it was not the court’s job to determine guilt or innocence immediately — only to decide on whether bail should be granted.
He said given there was no history of failing to turn up at court, the fact Mr Boxsell handed himself in to police and had clearly indicated his denial of the charge, he would grant bail.
Mr O’Callaghan said such a case could cause “natural revulsion’, but that should not cause an illogical leap to judgment.
“Some members of the community have already made that illogical leap,” he said.
Mr O’Callaghan said in granting bail he was not in any way minimising the seriousness of the alleged offending.
Mr Boxsell must live at a static address, report to Shepparton police three times a week, not leave Victoria and not contact witnesses.
He is due to reappear at Shepparton Magistrates Court on May 26.
The court agreed not to disclose his accommodation arrangement because of the threat of vigilantism.