Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court generic Townsville
Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court generic Townsville

Jealousy at the heart of cat fight that almost ends in jail

THE JUDGE said there was no other way to describe it than a "cat fight with a basis in jealousy", but it left one woman with a broken wrist, bruising to her head and a patch of hair missing.

The complainant was the new partner of Rebecca Jane Birse' ex-husband, and the situation got ugly one weekend.

It started with volatile text messages from Birse to her ex, containing derogatory comments and threats.

Then later that afternoon, in April 2017, she went to the house the complainant shared with him.

Words, not very nice ones, were exchanged before things got physical.

First Birse pushed her in chest, then a scuffle followed and as the two women wrestled on the ground, Birse pulled a patch of hair from her victim's head.

Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday heard that x-rays later revealed a fluid pocket on the complainant's elbow as well as a fractured wrist.

Judge Michael Burnett was shown a video taken by the man at the centre of the dispute, where the two women could be heard hurling abuse at each other.

While Birse told police the complainant was the aggressor, the Crown Prosecution was not accepting that.

The court heard that Birse and her ex-husband had been amicably separated for "seven or eight years" without any difficulties until now.

She had no criminal record, no drug or alcohol issues and was supported in court yesterday by her foster parents who had raised her.

Judge Burnett told her, "you should be utterly ashamed of yourself".

"Irrespective of how you feel about the complainant ... you can't take these matters into your own hands.

"Civil society would break down if we allowed people to do what you did."

He told her if the incident had happened inside the house she would have gone to jail and sentenced her to 12 months in prison, fully suspended.