Assault on girl ‘breach of trust’

A RETIRED Albury truck driver breached the trust of close friends by indecently assaulting their 16-year-old daughter, a court heard yesterday.

Her family had moved from the Border region to live in Queensland and the girl came back in December 2009 to visit relatives and friends.

The man, 66, now a pensioner, met the girl at Albury Airport and took her to visit family in a town some distance away.

He later took her for a meal in Lavington and subsequently back to his caravan in Wagga Road.

She was sitting on a bed when the man began to hug and kiss her before fondling her breasts.

The girl tried to push herself away as he squeezed her breasts and she left the caravan.

She went to a nearby service station and phoned her mother in Queensland.

She hid in bushes until her aunt and uncle arrived some time later and they collected her luggage from the man’s caravan.

The girl flew home a few days later and made a statement to police.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was interviewed by detectives on December 27 last year.

He pleaded guilty to indecent assault when he appeared in Albury Local Court yesterday.

He was convicted, fined $800 and put on a three-year bond with a condition preventing him from having any contact with the victim.

Magistrate Tony Murray was told the victim suffered depression and received counselling after the incident.

When interviewed, the man admitted putting his hands down the inside of the girl’s top and touching the side of her breasts.

It was claimed by him that the girl said he could have sex with her for $200, but he declined.

Solicitor Mark Cronin said the man had been travelling around Australia in a caravan.

He deeply regretted what happened which took place in a brief, fleeting moment.

Mr Cronin said there was a disparity in their ages and the man may have misconstrued the situation.

Mr Murray said the circumstances were aggravated by the man being in a position of trust.

He said the incident had had an ongoing impact on the victim and it had taken some time before it was reported.