A Gympie man pleaded guilty to sexual assault in court this week.
A Gympie man pleaded guilty to sexual assault in court this week. Contributed

COURT: Gympie man guilty of fondling woman as she slept

A GYMPIE man refused to accept his 19-year-old victim's repeated rejections and proceeded to fondle her genitals as she slept, the Gympie District Court has heard.

Callum Patrick Morrison, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault on Tuesday before being sentenced on Wednesday, two years on from the night of the incident in February 2017.

The court heard Morrison and a friend met up with the victim and her friend at Club 88 while "affected to some extent by the alcohol".

Morrison and his friend made advances on the victim, who Judge Glen Cash said rebuffed them "in no uncertain terms" before leaving the club.

Morrison and his friend later offered to pay for a taxi back to his house, where they could stay the night.

They accepted "on a clear basis" they would be given their own privacy at the house.

Morrison attempted another advance on the woman at the house, lying down and putting his head on her lap as she sat on a couch.

She rejected him again, moving away from the couch before returning later and falling asleep next to her friend.

The court heard Morrison again approached the couch, removed her underwear and touched her on the skin of her genitals before her friend told him to stop, the complainant woke up and they both left.

The victim told her family the next day and reported it to police soon after.

The crown prosecutor read out a victim impact statement, which detailed the woman's feelings of violation, isolation, breach of trust and aggravated depression following the incident.

In his sentencing remarks, Judge Cash said Morrison "felt entitled to act in the way (he) did and continued to do so despite indications she had no sexual interest in (him)".

"Touching someone on the genitals without their consent is a crime, simple as that," Judge Cash told him.

"You must know from all that you see and read in the papers and television these days is the society in which we live is increasingly less tolerant of men who take advantage of women. This has gone on too often and too long," he said.

Judge Cash said he noted the incident was "out of character" for Morrison, and he had not intentionally lured the victim back to his house.

He ruled a balance between punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation would be to sentence Morrison to 12 months' jail suspended for 18 months.