Man im­pris­oned for at­tempted rape

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

“I’LL do what you want, just let me catch my breath.”

It was words to this ef­fect that gave a young woman walk­ing home from a night­club in Air­lie Beach the split sec­ond she needed to run away from a man who ad­mit­ted he was about to rape her.

Har­ley Des­mond Has­son, 24, has been in pri­son await­ing sen­tence since shortly af­ter com­mit­ting the of­fence on Jan­uary 27.

On Mon­day he ap­peared in the Proser­pine Mag­is­trate’s Court via a video link to fi­nally plead guilty to the charge of at­tempted rape. The court heard it was about 5am when the woman was pulled off the pave­ment and into bush land on Water­son Way in Air­lie Beach.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor El­iz­a­beth Smith said she had just left a night­club and parted com­pany with her friends when Has­son snuck up on her and “crash-tack­led” her into the bush land at the side of the road.

Ms Smith said the woman, who didn’t know her at­tacker, screamed, rolled onto her stom­ach and tried to crawl away. Has­son then grabbed her from be­hind, put his hand over her mouth and started to undo her pants.

Ms Smith said the woman told him she’d do what he wanted if he just let her catch her breath. As he then hes­i­tated, she kicked him away and ran down Water­son Way where she im­me­di­ately called po­lice.

Has­son was found in the bush land just a short time later.

Ms Smith said he ad­mit­ted to po­lice he’d seen the woman com­ing and in­tended to rape her but was wor­ried his “squeaky shoes” would alert her to his pres­ence so took them off at the side of the road be­fore hid­ing in the bush land.

“The fact he took his shoes off to sneak up on her is an ag­gra­vated fea­ture in my re­spect­ful sub­mis­sion,” she said.

De­fence solic­i­tor Sher­rie Meade said Has­son was work­ing in se­cu­rity at the Roma Air­port at the time of com­mit­ting the of­fence. She said he was in Air­lie Beach on a hol­i­day with his fa­ther.

Ms Meade said he’d drunk quite a bit of al­co­hol that night and was of­fered a drink on his way home at about 4am that was “quite strong”.

She noted the ba­sis for the charge was Has­son’s own ad­mis­sions to po­lice.

“He told them what his in­ten­tions were,” she said.

She also said while none of the facts were dis­puted, Has­son had “let her go”.

“If he re­ally had wanted to con­tinue through he would have but he stopped him­self,” she said.

Mag­is­trate Ron Muir­head said this would have been a “very trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence” for the woman and in his mind there was no doubt a term of im­pris­on­ment should be im­posed.

Has­son was sen­tenced to three months im­pris­on­ment and three years pro­ba­tion from Mon­day’s date. Tak­ing into ac­count the 56 days he has al­ready spent in cus­tody, this will equate to about five months be­hind bars.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.