Man imprisoned for attempted rape
“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.