A woman who admitted touching a 15-year-old girl’s breast in the back seat of a car has been spared a place on the child sex offenders register.
An ACT Magistrate instead gave the 32-year-old a non-conviction order, finding the alternative would be a disproportionate punishment.
The Canberra woman was charged with an act of indecency after a complaint from the victim, who said the woman grabbed her breast as both were being driven home from a night out on Christmas Eve last year.
During sentencing, lawyer Bridget Dunne told the court the woman — who did not know the teenager — was not motivated by sexual gratification or predatory intent.
Ms Dunne noted the woman was extremely drunk and had not been taking her anti-depression medication.
“It seems to have been a drunken lark that has had serious consequences,” she said.
“She is mortified about her actions.”
But prosecutors argued the incident was extremely confronting for the victim, given the woman was a stranger.
The court also heard there was no evidence the woman’s mental health played a role.
Today Magistrate Karen Fryar acknowledged the feelings of the victim, and said the woman’s intoxication was no excuse.
But she found the offence was at the low end of the spectrum.
Magistrate Fryar found there was no premeditation and it had been an impulsive act that was not for sexual gratification.
Despite the woman’s guilty plea, Magistrate Fryar said a conviction would mean she would be placed on the child sex offenders list for more than seven years.
“This is out of all proportion with the criminality of the behaviour,” she said.
Magistrate Fryar found on balance that a non-conviction order was warranted.
She also placed the woman on a good behaviour order for two years.